Osama could be in Bajaur: Musharraf

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Islamabad, Dec 16: Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said that al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden could be in one of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas' agency.

Osama could be in Bajaur, the tribal agency bordering Kunar province, Musharraf said in an interview. When asked whether the US had abandoned him, Musharraf said, "I have nothing against President Bush. I think he has been most supportive; he has been a very sincere friend. I must say he understands fully the Pakistan environment. He understands why I had to act and what I'm facing."

Coming down heavily on the western media, Musharraf said: "The Western media was undermining what [we] are doing. Your media keeps criticizing the army and the ISI -- not understanding what their real contribution is to fighting terrorism."

Refusing to state whether he would give a nod to a constitutional amendment to facilitate Pakistan People's Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto serve as a Prime Minister for third term, Musharraf said he had made no such promise to the US in this regard.

"No I haven't given any such promises. We did talk about it, but there were many things that we talked about which have been violated," The News quoted him, as saying.

Musharraf categorically refused to reinstate the deposed judges who opposed him.

"We took action. The judges had to take oaths, and those that took the oaths are there. Those that did not are gone. The Supreme Court of Pakistan validated this action. Why should they be restored? New judges are there. They will never be restored," he said.

Denying any curbs on media, the former army General said there are no restrictions on press.

"There is no problem criticizing the government. . . . The problem was that they were distorting realities and creating despondencies in the people of Pakistan by showing pictures of dead bodies and interviewing terrorists. They encouraged terrorism and discouraged the law enforcers," he complained.

"We issued a code of conduct and asked them (media) to sign it. It's as good as you have in your own country. All the channels except one accepted it, and all except one are open. The print media were not closed at all," he added.

UNI

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