MIRAN SHAH, Pakistan — A message distributed to Pakistani tribesmen and said to be from Al Qaeda chief Usama bin Laden prayed for the assassination of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, declaring him a “slave” of U.S. President George W. Bush.
Bin Laden also purportedly called for help of the tribesmen whose homes, the message on the pamphlets said, were destroyed by the Pakistan army in the Waziristan tribal region for “American pleasure.”
“I pray to God, without whom there is no other God, that Bush, Pervez and his army meet the fate that they deserve and give someone among the lions of God the opportunity to kill this slave of Bush in Pakistan,” bin Laden purportedly said in the message.
The pamphlets were distributed by suspected local tribal militants Saturday in Mir Ali, a town in the North Waziristan tribal region that borders Afghanistan.
The message begins with a paragraph in Arabic that mentions bin Laden’s name, then says in Urdu, Pakistan’s primary language: A “new message by Sheikh Osama bin Mohammed bin Laden to Muslims about the atrocities by the Pakistani army on the tribes of Waziristan, the bloodshed and destruction of their homes.”
Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, the top spokesman for Musharraf, would not comment on the authenticity of the statement Sunday. But he urged the media not to “spread” it, referring to a line in the message saying that Muslims who receive it should reprint it and distribute it.
Pakistan was a key supporter of Afghanistan’s Taliban militia before it was ousted from power by a U.S. military campaign in late 2001 for harboring Al Qaeda.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, Musharraf severed ties with the Taliban and allied Pakistan with the U.S.-led war on terror.
Radical Islamists have opposed Musharraf for his alliance with the United States and he has survived at least three known assassination attempts — all blamed on Al Qaeda-linked militants.
The North and South Waziristan tribal regions have been the suspected hide outs of Al Qaeda-linked militants.
Military officials have said that Arab, central Asian and Afghan militants are present in the two rugged regions, where bin Laden and his top aide Ayman al-Zawahiri are also thought to be hiding.
But in recent weeks, local tribal militants — allegedly linked with the Taliban — have been blamed for deadly fighting with security forces. Some 317 militants and 51 soldiers and four police have reportedly died in clashes in the tribal border regions.
On Sunday, pamphlets circulated in Mir Ali purportedly by local tribal militants call for war against the Pakistan army.
Pakistan has deployed about 80,000 troops along its border with Afghanistan to track down militants.