We eliminated 700 Qaeda men: Musharraf

Greater Kashmir

Islamabad, Jan 7: Denying the purported reports that Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf has said that there was no proof whatsoever that he was in Pakistan.
 Reaffirming his commitment “to uproot terrorism and extremism,” Musharraf pointed out that Pakistan contributed more in “war against terror” than any other country and so far it has arrested or eliminated about 700 Al-Qaeda men.
 In an interview with CBS channel aired on Sunday evening, Musharraf while rejecting Osama’s presence in Pakistan’s soil said, “No, I challenge—I don’t accept that at all, there is no proof whatsoever that he is in Pakistan.”
 Responding to a query, Musharraf said, Pakistan “is not particularly looking for Osama, but we are operating against terrorists and Al-Qaeda and Taliban, and in the process, obviously, combined, maybe we are looking for him also.”
 Pakistan’s envoy to the US, Mahmoud Ali Durrani, sought to clarify Musharraf remark, in an exchange with CNN. He said, “I think the president is suggesting that neither we, nor the US, have any intelligence where exactly Osama Bin Laden is. He may be in Afghanistan; he may be in the border region. If we knew where he was, we would have taken him out.”
 “And when (President) Musharraf says that he’s not specifically looking for Osama, what he really means is that we are totally focused on destroying Al-Qaeda and the Taliban network and not just one person. We are looking at the broader issue and we want to destroy all these negative institutions.”
 Meanwhile, Pakistan made it clear that it will not allow any foreign country to conduct military operations on its territory.
 According to a foreign news agency, while rejecting a report that said the US was considering to conduct operations within the Pakistani territory, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Sadiq said, “Pakistan’s position in the war on terror has been very clear that any action on Pakistani soil will be taken only by Pakistani forces and Pakistani security agencies.”