KABUL: Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik has rubbished the claims by CNN by denying the presence of any leaders of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan.
"I categorically deny the presence of Osama bin Laden, his deputyAiman al-Zawahiri and even Mullah Omar in any part of Pakistan," said Malik while speaking to the media on Monday.
The interior minister said that the government has already assured its full cooperation to share information with the world community in this regard.
Meanwhile, the US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, has also commented on the CNN report about Osama’s whereabouts. He said that since the Al Qaeda leader was last known to be present around the Afghanistan Pakistan region, it was leading to these kinds of speculative reports.
CNN on Monday quoted a NATO official as saying Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is living comfortably in a house in the northwest region of Pakistan close to his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The Saudi-born militant, wanted for the September 11 attacks on the United States nine years ago, was being protected by local people and "some members of the intelligence services," CNN said.
It also said that the al Qaeda number two, the Egyptian-born Zawahiri, was living close to him.
"Nobody in al Qaeda is living in a cave," the unnamed senior NATO official is quoted as saying.
"The official also confirmed the US assessment that Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, has moved between the cities of Quetta and Karachi in Pakistan over the last several months," said the report on CNN's website.
It said the NATO official could not be named "because of the sensitivity of the intelligence matters involved".
Authorities have denied they are providing protection for Bin Laden, who has a $25million bounty on his head.
Bin Laden is believed to have escaped to the area from Afghanistan's Tora Bora region, which was a Taliban stronghold during the US-led invasion of late 2001.
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, predicted in an interview earlier this month that Bin Laden and Zawahiri, who also has a 25-million-dollar price on his head, would eventually be hunted down.
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