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Encounter

The man Bin Laden was looking for

Gowhar Nazir

Bonn , June 04, 2008:

"The world is looking for me, and I was looking for you," this is what Al-Qaeda chief, Osama Bin Laden had once said to Hamid Mir, a renowned Pakistani television journalist.

Mir's first interview with the world's most wanted man was a huge news for the media across the globe.

"Before 9/11 when I interviewed Osama, I was soon invited by the CNN's Larry King on his famous television show. Larry asked me about Osama's personality, and I replied I wasn't impressed at all. Osama has no convincing power and is soft-spoken, but his deputies told me that their leader is a very brave fighter,'' Mir says.

This interview with the CNN, Mir says, made him the 'most wanted man' for Osama.

Somehow, Mir had a second encounter with Osama.

According to Mir, Osama was more interested in meeting Mir than he was.

Al-Qaeda chief had been watching the Larry King's show involving me, Mir says.

"On my second interview with him the first thing Osama asked me was that he was going to impress and convince me with his arguments," the Pakistani scribe says.

With America's keen interest in Osama, and all that what is associated, or, may be associated with him, Mir was again invited to Larry King show.

Larry asked Mir what Osama had said to him in his second encounter?

"The world is looking for me, and I was looking for you. I had been watching your interview with CNN's Larry King," according to Mir these were Osama's words.

Mir says that he was not at all impressed with the arguments put forth by Osama, adding that he is very soft-spoken and has a voice that one does not normally associate with gun-wielding warriors.

However, Mir says: "All those close to Osama I met told me that he is a great and brave fighter, and those watch him fight in the battle-field become his life-long and die-hard fans."

Mir, the Executive Editor, Northern Region for Geo Television, Pakistan was one of the participants in a three-day international conference on the 'Role of Media in Peace-building and Conflict Prevention' held in Bonn.

About the local Talibans and the tribal conflict in Pakistan along the Afghan border, Mir says that much needed to be done to eradicate poverty, illiteracy and backwardness.

"Today we have more suicide bombers in Pakistan than there are in the Middle East. It is all because of illiteracy, injustice and poverty," Mir says.

Asked what was the solution to the tribal conflict and violence related to it in Pakistan, Mir had this toi say: "Justice, literacy and equality".

During the recent emergency imposed by Pakistani President, Gen Retd. Pervez Musharraff, Hamid Mir's famous television show 'Capital talk' was taken off air by the authorities but after the new government took over some restrictions on media have been lifted.

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