Last Updated: Mon May 07, 2012 16:18 pm (KSA) 13:18 pm (GMT)

Pakistan asks U.S. to share intelligence on al-Qaeda chief Zawahiri

Pakistan says it has no information on whether al-Qaeda chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is in the country. (File photo)
Pakistan says it has no information on whether al-Qaeda chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is in the country. (File photo)

Pakistan’s foreign minister said Monday that if the United States has intelligence about the presence of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in Pakistan, then it should share the information with Islamabad.

Hina Rabbani Khar was speaking to reporters shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a visit to Pakistan’s arch-rival India to say that Washington believes Zawahiri is hiding in Pakistan.

“If somebody has some proof about it, it should be shared with us so that we can look into the matter accordingly,” said Khar.

Pakistan has no information about Zawahiri’s being in the country, she added.

In Kolkata, Clinton said Zawahiri, who took over the leadership after U.S. troops killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last year, “is somewhere, we believe, in Pakistan,” as she pledged to keep up pressure on Islamabad to arrest Islamist militants.

The Egyptian cleric was second-in-command under bin Laden and was regarded by U.S. intelligence agencies as chief ideologue for the militant group.

Pakistani-U.S. relations have been riddled with crisis since the American raid killed bin Laden last May and American air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November. Islamabad has closed NATO supply lines through Pakistan into Afghanistan for five months.

Clinton said the United States would press for the arrest of the founder of Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) who is wanted over the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The United States last month offered a $10 million reward for information leading to the conviction of Hafiz Saeed, who lives openly in Pakistan and is considered a mastermind of the assault in India that killed 166 people.

Pakistan has questioned the basis of the bounty. It released Saeed from house arrest in 2009 and in 2010 the Supreme Court upheld his release on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

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