Pakistanis reject Osama’s ‘interference’

Pakistanis reject Osama’s ‘interference’
* ’Holy war’ call gets some resonance in northwest
Daily Times, September 22, 2007

PESHAWAR: A call from Osama Bin Laden for a “holy war” against President Gen Pervez Musharraf and the army found resonance on Friday among some in Pakistan’s conservative northwest but others rejected the cry for jihad as interference.

In a web audio tape issued on Thursday, a speaker purported to be Bin Laden vowed to retaliate against “infidel” President Musharraf, his government and the army for an assault on Lal Masjid in Islamabad in July.

“It’s now obligatory on Pakistanis to wage jihad against Musharraf because he’s pitting Muslims against Muslims for the sake of America,” said Iqbal Hussain, a car washer in Peshawar. “What’s going on in Waziristan and the frequent suicide attacks are the result of Musharraf’s policies. He doesn’t want to give up power,” Hussain said.

Abdullah Khan, a shopkeeper in Chaman on the Afghan border, said Musharraf had turned Pakistan into a “slave of America”.

“Osama has given the right message because Musharraf is working on America’s agenda in Pakistan. He’s killing people in the name of the fight against terrorism,” Khan said. “The people should stand up against General Musharraf and remove him to stop Mulsim bloodshed.” But such views were far from universal.

“General Musharraf’s government is an internal issue of Pakistan. Osama Bin Laden shouldn’t interfere,” said Abdul Ghani, 40, a Chaman car mechanic with a long black beard. Another Chaman resident, Hafiz Abdul Qayyum, said Bin Laden didn’t believe in democracy.

“General Musharraf’s policies are against Islam and Muslims but Pakistan is a democratic country and Musharraf should be removed through democratic means,” he said.

Peshawar shopkeeper Gulfaraz said he did not support Bin Laden, saying, “He just wants to create chaos which is un-Islamic.”

In Lahore, Bin Laden’s call for jihad was widely condemned. “Osama has no right to issue such statements,” said Punjab University student Maryam Ali. Government official Sohail Nasir said Bin Laden had much blood on his hands. “He’s responsible for killing tens of thousands of Muslims around the world and wants to get more Muslims killed through such statements.”

Khurram Shehzad, a film company production assistant, said Bin Laden shouldn’t try to be a champion of Islam.

“He should mind his own business,” Shehzad said. A military spokesman dismissed Bin Laden’s call as irrelevant. reuters

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