Al Qaeda has launched a blistering attack on Pakistan's beleaguered President Pervez Musharraf accusing him of betraying Muslims by supporting the US-led war in Afghanistan.
In a rare English language audio message believed to be from Ayman Al Zawahiri, which was aired yesterday by a Pakistani private TV network, Osama bin Laden's number two called for jihad against Pakistan, listing a litany of charges against Musharraf.
Al-Zawahiri said in the tape that Musharraf had betrayed Muslims by supporting the US after the September 11, 2001 attacks in its battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Zawahiri urged Pakistanis to rise up against the United States or at least support the insurgents.
"Pervez has insulted and compromised Pakistan's sovereignty by allowing the CIA and FBI to operate freely in Pakis@A.Iand arrest, interrogate, torture, deport and detain any person, whether Pakistani or not, for as long as they like, thus turning the Pakistani army and security agencies into hunting dogs in the contemporary crusade," said the purported tape from al-Zawahiri.
The message, the authenticity of which has not been fully confirmed, came as Pakistan's leader fights a critical battle for his political survival, threatened by an impeachment motion by opponents.
The Pakistan television channel ARY said the tape was delivered to its office in Islamabad by an unidentified person. People familiar with Zawahiri's voice said the tape could be genuine.