JERUSALEM: Pakistan's former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf has said that he is "100 per cent" sure that he had no knowledge about the presence of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden near the Pakistani capital.
In his first ever interview to an Israeli daily, Musharraf insisted on his innocence and said he was sure about himself that he did not know he (Osama) was there in Pakistan.
"I am very sure about my answer. Especially so because when they say bin Laden was there for five years, that means two years under my watch. Well, one cannot be sure of others, but one can be sure of oneself. And I am 100 per cent sure of myself that I did not know he was there," Musharraf told Ha'aretz daily when asked about bin Laden's presence.
Bin Laden was killed by US special forces in a covert raid in the garrison city of Abbottabad, near Pakistani capital in May last year. "I say the question is, was there complicity or negligence? And I strongly believe it was negligence. Of course, that's not great either, it's terrible negligence and shameful. But, while both are bad – complicity would be worse," said the former President, who became a key ally of West in war on terror post 9/11.
"I don't have any doubt of that. I know there was no complicity for those two years. And perhaps there was complicity during the latter three years, but I don't believe that either. It's not possible. It was negligence," he argued.
Musharraf, explaining the negligence, said that since Osama was not using telephone communications, it is human intelligence that comes to ISI, but no one knew him around
"None of the neighbours knew him," he stressed.