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Pakistan Calls for bin Laden Evidence to be Made Public


Pakistani officials said they believe evidence they have received from the United States is sufficient to indict those found responsible for the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington last month. Pakistani officials also said the evidence should be made public and shared internationally.

One day after Pakistani officials received extensive evidence from Washington linking Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden to last month's terrorist attacks in the United States, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Riaz Mohammed Khan, said the evidence is compelling. "We have seen the material that was provided to us by the American side yesterday," he said. "This material certainly provides sufficient basis for an indictment in a court of law."

Mr. Khan said the evidence backs up U.N. Security Council resolutions, which tied Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network to terrorist attacks. The material, he said, refers to both the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, and earlier terrorist attacks, which Mr. Bin Laden's al-Qaida members are alleged to have carried out. He said U.S. officials have indicated that more evidence will be provided in the future, as the investigation into the terror attacks progresses.

So far, U.S. officials have only shared the evidence with close allies and the coalition partners Washington has enlisted in its effort to get Taleban authorities in Afghanistan to surrender Osama bin Laden and members of his al-Qaida organization.

Riaz Mohammed Khan said U.S. officials should make the material public, although he said he understands the U.S. position that much of the evidence is sensitive. "We think that there would be an advantage, if the evidence is publicized, because it would strengthen the case of the United States in taking appropriate actions against people responsible for these terrorist acts," he said. "But again, there are sensitivities involved, regarding confidentialities of various aspects, and the judgment has to be exercised by the United States to the extent that they want to share it internationally."

Mr. Khan says British Prime Minister Tony Blair will visit Islamabad on Friday, and meet with Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, during what is being called a "working visit." The Pakistani spokesman says he does not know if the British prime minister will have any meetings with Taleban officials while he is in the Islamabad.

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