Al Qaeda’s second-in-command has called for the Pakistani leader to be overthrown, in the third recording from the terrorist group in a week.
Ayman Zawahiri, who is thought to be hiding on the Pakistani border, described President Pervez Musharraf as a “treacherous criminal.” Musharraf’s forces have captured or killed hundreds of al Qaeda followers since he backed the US-led war on terrorism. In an interview in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, the Pakistani president denied he was anybody’s “poodle” and said he was fighting for the good of his own country. Musharraf has been the subject of several failed assassination attempts, including one on Christmas Day 2003. The video message from Zawahiri appears to be a bid to stir up further anger at the president and at US attacks on suspected terrorist targets in Pakistan. Only last month, 10,000 people gathered to hear an opposition leader denounce a visit by US President George W. Bush as an attempt to “enslave the Pakistani nation” and reward Musharraf for backing America.