Pakistan Denies Holding Names of Captured Al-Qaeda Members Until US Election
UPI | August 22 2004
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Pakistan said Sunday it still has no information about the whereabouts of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and his close associates.
Pakistan is conducting a major operation against terror suspects in the country, arresting 63 people since mid July.
Information Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmad told a news briefing in Islamabad that Pakistani intelligence agencies had discovered an al-Qaida plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy, the president's home and other key buildings in Islamabad. He said 10 suspects were in custody, including some key al-Qaida operatives.
Confirming the arrests, Pakistani Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat said senior al-Qaida leaders, such as bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, were not among those arrested.
He rejected news media reports as "speculative" that Pakistan has arrested some senior al-Qaida leaders and was planning to announce their names closeer to the U.S. elections.
Said Hayat: "We have nothing to do with the U.S. elections. We are catching these suspects (because) we want to create a safe and peaceful Pakistan for future generations."