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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 February, 2004, 13:12 GMT
Al-Qaeda sweep worries Pakistan press
Pakistan press template

As Pakistani forces launch a new offensive against al-Qaeda and Taleban suspects in the border area with Afghanistan, Pakistani papers worry about possible US involvement and potential consequences for the population.

One paper wonders how Osama Bin Laden can still be considered such a threat to the "big powers".

Another daily speculates that the rebel warlord, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, may already have been arrested, and that Bin Laden is preparing for a fight to the death.

It is to be welcomed that the government has rejected the participation of US forces in the operation. But, if the US forces decide to enter our territory in the name of hot pursuit, what will be our strategy? Will we try to repulse US forces with all our might? If so, then what measure will be adopted to avoid a big war?


The arrangements being made for the fresh operation in South Waziristan Agency will certainly promote unrest and mistrust in the area, as well as in the country. It is a strange situation that our government has been submitting easily to each and every demand of the US, without the slightest hesitation. On all issues - Afghanistan, Kashmir, the nuclear programme, and even the operation in the tribal areas - our government has bowed before the US without taking heed of national interests and the sentiments of the people.


Whatever is going on in the tribal areas in the name of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden is pre-planned. The way the US presented a man and his voluble companions as the most dangerous force may not be a reality. How can a man having no country, no army and even no people pose serious threats to big powers?


The statement from Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat that the operation in South Waziristan Agency can be started within 24 hours, and that Osama Bin Laden and his companions may be hiding in the tribal areas gives a dramatic shape to the whole affair. Our leaders should refrain from issuing such confusing statements which may bring dangers to us.


Osama has made his seven bodyguards take an oath to kill him in case he is in danger of arrest... Osama has decided that instead of being arrested he would prefer to die... Osama has tied ammunition rods around his body and if he is about to be arrested, he will blow himself up.

According to sources, the former Prime Minister of Afghanistan, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who had been co-operating with Osama's associates for several years, has been arrested. He was on the US hit list. According to some diplomatic sources, Hekmatyar's arrest will be kept a secret for the time being, and if Osama is also arrested, according to the US plan, his arrest will also be kept a secret, and this will be disclosed a few days before the US elections in November.


BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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24 Feb 04  |  South Asia
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17 Feb 04  |  South Asia
Saddam down, Bin Laden next?
17 Dec 03  |  South Asia

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