Pakistan army officials vowed Thursday to eliminate terrorism, undeterred by a call from al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden for a rebellion against President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.
"We have the aim and objective, as our national duty, to eliminate terrorists and eradicate extremism," army spokesman Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad said.
"Such threats issued through videos or in any other way cannot deter us" from fulfilling that duty, Arshad said.
In a new audiotape released Thursday, bin Laden said the Pakistan army's bloody siege of militants holed up in Islamabad's Red Mosque made Musharraf an infidel.
The storming of the mosque in July "demonstrated Musharraf's insistence on continuing his loyalty, submissiveness and aid to America against the Muslims ... and makes armed rebellion against him and removing him obligatory," bin Laden said, according to a transcript of the tape released by Laura Mansfield, an American terror expert who monitors militant message traffic.
Bin Laden, whose voice was heard over video showing previously released footage of the terror leader, is widely believed to be hiding somewhere along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
The United States has urged Pakistan to take a stronger line against militants reasserting themselves along in Pakistan's wild tribal belt along the frontier.
Musharraf is currently seeking re-election as president and calling for moderates to unite against extremists, who have mounted a wave of suicide attacks in relatively peaceful parts of Pakistan.
"The Pakistan army will continue to carry out its role against terrorists wherever they are found, whether in the tribal areas or elsewhere," Arshad said.
Pakistan's government spokesman refused to comment on the bin Laden video.
But a prominent lawmaker from a hard-line Islamic coalition strongly opposed to Musharraf's alliance with Washington said he thought the video was fake. He offered no evidence to back up his assertion.
"This is an attempt to turn people's sympathies in favor of Gen. Pervez Musharraf but such tactics are not going to work," said Liaquat Baluch, from the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal.
"I am sure that the video is a fake and made in America," he said.