‘Osama, Mullah Omar not Pakistan’s enemies’

Source: Daily Times* Maulana Faqir says US biggest terrorist in world

KHAR: A pro-Taliban leader in the Tribal Areas said on Sunday that Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden and fugitive Taliban militant leader Mullah Omar were “not enemies of Pakistan”.

Addressing a rally near Khar, the main town of Bajaur tribal district bordering Afghanistan, Maulana Faqir Muhammad said that US President George W Bush was the “biggest enemy” of Pakistan.

Biggest terrorist: “America is the biggest terrorist in the world and the current war in Pakistan has been imposed as a consequence of American policy,” Faqir said.

“As compared to Pakistani rulers, Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar are the biggest well-wishers of Pakistan. They are not enemies of Pakistan,” he said.

“US President Bush is the biggest enemy of Pakistan … Pakistani rulers’ backing of Bush has caused grave harm to the country,” Faqir said, referring to the close alliance between Washington and President Pervez Musharraf in the US-led ‘war on terror’.

“The mujahedeen have the right to wage jihad against the rulers in the nooks and corners of the country as a result of continued operations against them. We do not want to capture the government, but we want imposition of an Islamic system in the country,” Faqir said.

He had told a press conference in December that Osama was possibly in “some safe area inside Afghanistan”, adding that if he came to Bajaur “we will give him a warm welcome.”

Faqir’s relatively new umbrella group, the United Taliban Movement of Pakistan, is said to have been established to unite Taliban activities in the semi-autonomous tribal belt and other parts of northwestern Pakistan.

Security forces have fought increasingly fierce battles against Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in the tribal belt since 2003.

The Taliban were ousted from power in Afghanistan by a US-led invasion in November 2001, shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, blamed on Osama. Musharraf has been seen in Washington as a bulwark against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but northwestern Pakistan has seen the worst of a wave of violence blamed on Al Qaeda and Taliban militants that has swept the country in recent months. AFP