An offer bin Laden cant refuse

If you cant or dont want to capture them, pardon them. Musharraf makes yet another deal with al Qaeda.

Pakistan on Monday offered “safe passage” to al-Qaeda fighters hiding among unruly tribes along the rugged Afghan border, as he renewed an amnesty offer.”If the foreign terrorists want to leave Pakistani territory then we are ready to provide safe passage to them,” North-West Frontier Province Governor Syed Iftikhar Hussain told an assembly of 200 tribal elders in Peshawar.

“Our amnesty offers still stands and once again we assure that anyone who lays down his arms and surrenders before authorities will not be handed over to any other country.[Jang/News]

But the Saudis have opposed this.

The Saudi government has strongly opposed Pakistan’s move to announce general amnesty to foreign terrorists belonging to al-Qaeda specially of Saudi origin with whom Pakistan army just finished first round of bloody clashes in tribal areas.

A source said the Saudi government wants Pakistan to give a loud and clear message to the Jihadi elements that “it meant business with them and on one would go unpunished for his crimes in the name of Islam”.[Hi Pakistan]

Obviously, the Saudis dont want al Qaeda’s Afghan veterans return to the Kingdom, and give the government another set of headaches.

Pakistan is creating expectations that bin Laden is hiding in North Waziristan and are mounting an operation to capture him. This operation may be timed such that it coincides with the debate in the United States Congress over Pakistan’s proposed MNNA status. Any attack by Pashtun tribesmen on Pakistani army convoys is seen as evidence that ‘high value’ al Qaeda leaders are in the vicinity. The truth is probably much simpler – the tribesmen are disenchanted with Musharraf’s violation of their way of life and responding in the only way they know.