Musharraf Discusses al Qaida With VOA

Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf told Voice of America Thursday that he doesn’t think Osama bin Laden’s death will weaken al Qaida.

Appearing at the VOA television studios in Washington, Musharraf said he was “surprised and shocked” that bin Laden was found in Pakistan, and described the discovery as “acute negligence of the highest order.”  Musharraf again denied that Pakistani authorities knew or were complicit in hiding bin Laden and he said if anyone was responsible they should be punished.

Pervez MusharrafAsked if bin Laden’s death had weakened al Qaida, Musharraf said he did not think so because the terror organization is actually made up of several groups that act independently and call themselves al Qaida.  He said the same is true of the Taliban.

The former president’s Urdu language comments, which also briefly touched on the subject of Pakistan’s relations with India, will be broadcast Friday on VOA’s Beyond the Headlines program, which airs on Geo, the Pakistani cable news network. He spoke with VOA Urdu Service lead political reporter, Muhammad Atif.

Musharraf, who has been living in self-imposed exile in London, has made a number of appearances during his current U.S. visit, including a speech at The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.  He was also interviewed by CNN and on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

For more about VOA’s Urdu language programs visit www.voanews.com/urdu.  For information about our English programs visit www.voanews.com.

For Media inquiries contact Kyle King in Washington at kking@voanews.com.

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