I slamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is not in Pakistan and the US has failed to provide any “actionable information” to suggest otherwise.
In an interview with leading British newspaper Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister who is in London to review one-year progress on Pak-UK Strategic Dialogue Process, adamantly denied the presence of Al-Zawahiri in Pakistan.
Gilani said, “Why should I think he (Zawahiri) is in Pakistan?” he asked the Daily Telegraph. The CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency were co-operating closely.”
The Prime Minister said, “They should work together and if there is any credible, actionable information, please share with us so that we should catch hold of him.”
Gilani said, “You have claimed that somebody has said that he is in Pakistan: if there is any information, please share with us.”
Asked for his own view on whether Zawahiri was in Pakistan, the Prime Minister replied, “We don’t think so.”
Replying to another question about Hafiz Saeed, the Prime Minister said there was insufficient evidence to warrant his arrest. “If you arrest him, that means he will be released by the courts. For the courts you need more evidence,” he added.
The Prime Minister said, “You know the judiciary is completely independent in Pakistan.”
The Daily Telegraph reported that Gilani’s four years in office have been enough to make him the longest serving prime minister in Pakistan’s history.
His elected civilian government has a good chance of being the first ever to complete a full term, which ends next year.
Replying to another question and about competition from Imran Khan in next general elections, the Prime Minister said, “In each and every election, there’s always a perception from the media that he’ll do better than before, but each time he doesn’t do better than before.”
He said, “We’ll beat them hands down.”