Allegation About Zawahiri Mere Conjecture: FO

The Foreign Office dismissed on Monday US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s allegations about Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s presence in Pakistan as “conjectures” and asked Washington to share any actionable intelligence available with it.

This image from a web posting by al Qaeda’s media arm, as-Sahab, provided by IntelCenter on July 27, 2011, shows al Qaeda’s new leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. – File Photo by AP.

The Foreign Office dismissed on Monday US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s allegations about Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s presence in Pakistan as “conjectures” and asked Washington to share any actionable intelligence available with it.

Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan, when asked about Secretary Clinton’s claim about Zawahiri hiding in the country, said: “These are all conjectures. If the US has any evidence, information or actionable intelligence, they should share it with us.”

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar expressed similar views and told reporters that if the US had intelligence about the presence of Ayman Al-Zawahiri in Pakistan, it should share it with Pakistan.

“Al-Qaeda is our enemy and if the US has any information about the presence of Al-Zawahiri in Pakistan it should share the information with us.” Ms Khar said Pakistan had suffered a lot in the war on terror and the US was aware of it.

Clinton, who is visiting India, said that the US believed Zawahiri was somewhere in Pakistan. She had further said that the Obama administration was “intent upon going after those who are trying to keep Al Qaeda operational and inspirational”.

The secretary of state underscored that it was in Islamabad’s interest to pursue terrorists who are operating in Pakistani territory.

Ms Clinton had made a similar claim about Osama bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan in 2010, almost a year before he was captured by US special forces in a raid in Abbottabad. Her statement on that occasion was also rejected and the phraseology of the rejoinder was strikingly similar.

“Neither Mulla Omar nor Osama bin Laden is in Pakistan… and if anyone has any credible and verifiable information, it should be shared with us,” was the response then.

Responding to Ms Clinton’s criticism that enough had not been done against Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed, spokesman Moazzam Khan demanded proof of his involvement in terrorism, which was good enough to stand in court of law.

“Our position on Hafiz Saeed is clear. We have independent and active courts. If anyone has proof against him, they should share it with us so that the courts can examine it,” he said.