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Laden not hiding in Pakistan, says minister

July 31, 2009 11:27 IST
Pakistan has rejected reports that Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin-Laden is hiding inside the country's geographical boundaries.

"There is no evidence that Osama Bin Laden is present in Pakistan and claims of his presence in the country should be substantiated with actionable proof," Information and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said.

Referring to British High Commissioner to Pakistan Sir Robert Brinkley's claims that Laden, Qaeda's second man in command Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Taliban chief Mullah Omar were hiding in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border regions, Kaira said any such claims should not be based on mere speculations but backed by substantial evidence.

"If our coalition partners have any suggestions for improving our actions against the terrorists they should convey it to us instead of making assumptions," The Daily Times quoted Kaira, as saying.

He said such statements would only add to Islamabad's problems and complicate its ongoing fight against various terror outfits.

It may be recalled that US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen had recently said that Laden is hiding in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas and can strike the United States from there.

Admiral Mullen said it was due to this fear, crushing Al-Qaeda was on top of Obama administration's agenda.

"Al-Qaeda could certainly strike the US from Fata, that's why the top objective of the current US strategy is to defeat al-Qaeda," said Admiral Mullen.

Source: ANI