Tuesday, September 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India

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Al-Qaida’s call to topple Musharraf

Dubai, September 29
In a new audiotape released by terror mastermind Osama bin Laden’s group, the Al-Qaida has appealed to Pakistani soldiers to “topple” President Pervez Musharraf or he will “hand over” them to the Hindus.

The tape aired by the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Arabic TV Channel showed Bin Laden’s principal spokesman, Ayman al Zawahiri telling Pakistani officers and soldiers that the President would “hand you over to the Hindus and flee to enjoy his secret bank accounts” if India attacked their country.

Al-Zawahiri also condemned Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s recent visit to India, saying the agreements signed were “a drop in the ocean of the American-Jewish-Indian alliance against the Muslims.”

Zawahiri said Musharraf helped the USA to topple the Taliban government in Afghanistan in the October 2001 invasion — support that killed thousands of innocents in the war-torn country.

During the broadcast on Sunday, the Al-Qaida spokesman also claimed the Pakistani President was seeking to recognise Israel and send troops to Iraq in a bid to gain full American approval.

“Musharraf... is seeking to send Pakistani forces to Iraq so that they, rather than American soldiers, are killed and so that they kill Muslims in Iraq and enable America to control Muslim lands,” the Al Jazeera tape said.

Zwahiri said in the tape that Washington would not reward Musharraf for his services and cited Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as “a living example” of what happens to “traitors”: “He gave Israel and America all that they asked for. But despite this, they are now incarcerating him in his office (in the West Bank town of Ramallah)... and lately decided to expel him.”

Although the CIA has described the recording as “probably authentic”, Al Jazeera said it did not know when the tape was recorded.

Al-Zawahiri also said that Osama bin Laden and Taliban’s Mulla Muhammad Umar were both alive.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan today termed the purported Al-Qaida threat to President Pervez Musharraf “outrageous” and reiterated its war against terrorism would continue.

“The threat against the leader of a sovereign country is simply outrageous,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan today said at a media briefing, adding the Pakistani security agencies were capable of meeting any challenges.— PTI, UNI

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