Islamabad, March 11 (Reuters): A grainy video purporting to show the arrest of two al Qaida leaders has done little to deflect accusations that Pakistan may have staged this month’s raid to give it leeway to abstain in a UN vote on an Iraq war.
Yesterday, the powerful military Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) held an unprecedented news conference to show foreign journalists what it said were images of a March 1 raid in Rawalpindi that netted al Qaida kingpin Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
But few of the journalists present were convinced the video — which did not show Mohammed’s face nor any sign of a struggle — was genuine. Many said it looked like a crude reconstruction. Today, a former ISI chief said he believed Mohammed was actually arrested some time ago in a different city.
“They are trying to cover up,” Lt-Gen. Hamid Gul said. “I believe he was arrested before, probably in Karachi.”
One intelligence source said Mohammed had been arrested three days before, from the Tench Batta suburb of Rawalpindi. Rumours of Mohammed’s arrest had circulated in Pakistan for months, but were consistently denied.
Pakistan said today it would be very difficult to support a war against Iraq and more time should be given for peace. Prime Minister Jamali said:“It would be very difficult for Pakistan to support war against Iraq.”