Report on 'terror summit' denied

August 17, 2004

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ISLAMABAD, Aug 16: A spokesman for Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Monday played down a report in the latest edition of Time magazine describing a "summit of terrorists" held in March in South Waziristan.

Time quoted some US officials as saying the gathering may have been a "pivotal planning session" in the same way a meeting of Al Qaeda operatives in 2000 was used to discuss plans for the Sept 11, 2001, strikes in the United States.

Major-General Shaukat Sultan denied any meeting took place. "The story is fictionalized that a high-level summit meeting took place in South Waziristan," he said. "There was no summit meeting."

According to Gen Sultan, President Pervez Musharraf told Time that Al Qaeda operative and computer engineer Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan, caught last month, met "discreetly" in Lahore with Musa al Hindi, arrested this month in Britain.

British newspapers said Musa Hindi was believed to have been plotting an attack on London's Heathrow airport. Noor Khan had also met an unnamed weapons expert, the spokesman said, possibly a reference to Adnan el Shukrijumah, identified by Time as a bombmaker and commercial pilot.

Two suspected militants were arrested in Lahore on Monday, according to intelligence officials, and both had been in South Waziristan. Abu Hamza, from Myanmar, is suspected of links with Al Qaeda, while Mohammad Shafique is believed to have been close to Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar. Three mobile telephones and thousands of dollars of cash were also seized. -Reuters