On August 10, 2008, Al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman Al-Zawahiri released an audio recording consisting of accusations against Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. In the recording, which was distributed by the Al-Qaeda media company Al-Sahab and aired by Pakistan's independent television network ARY One World, Al-Zawahiri spoke in English, exclusively addressing a Pakistani audience.
Al-Zawahiri told his audience of his early years as a doctor in Pakistan, noting that he had gone there for the first time in 1980 to provide medical treatment to the mujahideen fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. He said that he had spent six years in Pakistan but that later, due to U.S. pressure, the government had forced him to leave.
Discussing his earliest connections with Pakistan, Al-Zawahiri said that he had read the poetry of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, the Islamist poet considered to be one of Pakistan's ideological founders. He added that his grandfather, Abd Al-Wahab Azzam, had translated a collection of Iqbal's poems, Diwan-e-Iqbal, into Arabic.
Following is a summary of the main points of Al-Zawahiri's recording, as published by the Urdu-language daily Roznama Express:(1)
Musharraf Stabbed the Mujahideen in Kashmir with a Dagger
In the tape, Al-Zawahiri accused President Musharraf of endangering Pakistan's national security by taking power. He said that it was because of Musharraf's wrong policies that drug dealers and pro-India and pro-Russia people were in power in Afghanistan today. Also as a result of those policies, he said, India today had access to Tajikistan's air bases, and its influence in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region had grown.
Al-Zawahiri said that Musharraf's proposed solution to the Kashmir issue was akin to giving up Kashmir to the Indians, that Musharraf had stabbed the mujahideen in Kashmir with a dagger, and that the "jihad in Kashmir" should be freed from the control of Pakistan's intelligence agencies. He said that for all practical purposes, Musharraf had accepted Israel's existence on Palestinian territory, as well as allowing U.S. intelligence agencies to operate freely within Pakistan and to establish secret detention centers in the country. He also said that Pakistani politics were dictated by the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan.
According to Al-Zawahiri, Musharraf had endangered Pakistan's nuclear program, and had made a scapegoat of nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan to please the U.S. Also, he said, Pakistani politicians were creating instability in a nation capable of atomic power in order to endear themselves to the U.S.
Al-Zawahiri accused the Pakistani Army of arresting Al-Qaeda commander Abu Al-Faraj Al-Libi, and pointed out that the army was fighting an American war in the tribal districts on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border which was resulting only in losses for the Pakistanis.
He concluded by criticizing Pakistan's religious parties for their "silence" over the July 2007 military operation in Islamabad's Red Mosque, and urged the people of Pakistan to rise up to wage jihad.
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