Al Qaeda Commander Calls for Overthrow of Pakistani Government

An Al Qaeda commander who escaped from a U.S. prison called on Pakistanis in a new Web video to overthrow President Gen. Pervez Musharraf as revenge for the killing of a pro-Taliban cleric in the Red Mosque showdown.

The video was issued by Abu Yahia al-Libi, who broke out of the Bagram Air Base prison north of Kabul in 2005 and who Western and Afghan intelligence officials believe has since worked training suicide bombers in a camp in eastern Afghanistan.

"O people of jihad (Holy War) in Pakistan ... hurry up and get rid of this corrupt and tyrannical apostate and his secular infidel rule. Destroy the fortifications of his weak army and the nests of his filthy intelligency agency and the core of his infidel rule," al-Libi said.

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In a 21-minute-video tape, posted late Wednesday, al-Libi appeared wearing black turban and a white robe. Pictures of Musharraf and slain pro-Taliban cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi appeared on the background.

Ghazi was killed with at least 102 people in fighting when the Pakistani security forces raided Islamabad's Red Mosque last month. Ghazi and his associates were holed up inside and refused to lay down arms.

Since the siege, Islamists have organized several rallies against Musharraf across the country, and militant attacks on government forces have surged in the restive tribal region near the border with Afghanistan.

"Ghazi, the son of the martyr, who spoke of truth at the time of submission," al-Libi — a pseudonym that means "the Libyan" — said. "In the midst of the siege and in the midst of enemies' heightening strikes, he said, I prefer death to give up my cause or to submit to surrender."

It was not possible to verify the authentic of the video tape, posted on an Islamic Web site where Al Qaeda and other militant groups often release messages.

Al-Libi denounced Musharraf as a "filthy, secular, oppressive dictator."

"He dragged the country and the people into abandoning their Islamic identity, into demoralization, into submission to his masters in the east and the west, turning this Muslim nation into an identical copy of them in terms of their culture, ethics, faith and traditions," al-Libi said.

"Pakistan wasn't founded to be an ally and a supporter to the cross worshippers: America and its followers," al-Libi said. "Pakistan is an Islamic state, with a Muslim nation and must be ruled by Islam."

The Red mosque's clerics had used the schools' students to impose Taliban-style Islamic laws in the capital. Their anti-vice campaign, which included kidnapping alleged Chinese prostitutes and threatening attacks to defend the mosque, had raised concerns about the spread of Islamic extremism in Pakistan.

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