New Delhi: Don’t be surprised if Ayman al-Zawahiri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden as the new chief of Al Qaeda, is killed in Pakistan by yet another US drone strike. Because almost certainly, he is hiding out there and almost certainly, maybe a few in the Pakistani establishment are privy to his presence, but will not give him up easily. A new book authored by a Pakistani security analyst talks about his whereabouts in Pakistan, and that is too close to the power centre.
Zawahiri, an Egyptian cleric, became the new Al Qaeda chief after the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad town May 2 last year.
Imtiaz Gul, a Pakistani defence and security analyst, in his book “Pakistan: Before and After Osama” says: “Just as the search for bin Laden has been a pre-occupation for the past decade, the whereabouts of Zawahiri are now likely to engage the US and Pakistan intelligence.”
On where Zawahiri could be hiding, the author writes: “The city that would most suit him and provide him with the peace he needs to strategise his takeover is Islamabad.”
“…it will be no surprise if American or Pakistani intelligence were to scoop him up from Rawalpindi or Islamabad one day – the way they netted Khalid Sheikh Mohammed from Rawalpindi near the armed forces’ General Headquarters. The 9/11 mastermind was finally indicted in early April 2012 along with four others, with prosecution demanding death penalty for him.”
In May this year, then Pakistani prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that Ayman al-Zawahiri was not in Pakistan, challenging US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remark that the Al Qaeda chief was there.
On May 7, during her three-day trip to India, Hillary Clinton had categorically said that Zawahiri was in Pakistan.
Clinton had said in Kolkata: “We want to disable Al Qaeda. We believe Zawahiri is in Pakistan.”
“You have to go over those who are trying to kill you. You have to be focussed on that.”