Washington, Mar 17: Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has asked Pakistanis to revolt against their government and military by staging uprisings on the pattern of ‘Arab Spring' and labelled the nation's army as “slaves of America”.
Believed to be in deep hiding, Zawahiri surfaced for the first time in months to post a ten minute video uploaded to jihadist forums, saying that the Pakistan army was in “partnership with America” in a war against Islam.
“Cannot a million free people rise from amongst the Muslims of Pakistan to stage a protest against the Generals of Pakistan Army so as to force them to stop their treachery”, Zawahiri, 60, said in the video, not dated.
The Egyptian cleric now heading the al-Qaeda said his groups would not release an elderly American developmental expert Warren Weinstein, captured in Pakistan last month.
“O people of Pakistan! The Arab world around you is surging in a wave of revolution. Tyrants and oppressive rulers are falling. Why are you not making any move? Why are you not deposing these tyrants? Why are you not toppling these treacherous bribe takers?”, Zawahiri was quoted as saying by CNN.
Zawahiri shown on the video standing in front of a green curtain, asked Pakistanis to follow the example of the Arab Spring as the military could not be expected to turn against America, despite a deadly US strike against Pakistani troops in November.
Claiming that his fighters had taken American as hostage, Zawahiri said, “He will not return to his family until our demands for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman and the family of Sheikh Osama bin Laden were released.”
Long al-Qaeda's number 2, Zawahiri took over the helm of the group after bin Laden was killed in May 2011 in a US special forces raid.