Everyone knows who Mehsud is by now, yes? Alleged mastermind of Benazir Bhutto’s murder, current kingpin among Waziristan’s jihadis, and lately the happy beneficiary of the Pakistani government’s disastrous appeasement policy towards its “problem” citizens. Insofar as he both controls his own territory and has terrorist designs on the west, he’s like Osama and Mullah Omar rolled into one. Which brings us to this tantalizing piece in the Pakistan Daily:

A top Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud has rejected reports that al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden, and other leaders are hiding in his region.

“The al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden is dead, and the Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, are not in our territory,” he said in an interview broadcast by a satellite television network.

Funeral prayers have been said for Osama bin Laden over the years with one reported by a Pakistani news organisation, and another in an Egyptian newspaper as far back as December 2001.

Take this with two grains of salt instead of the usual one reserved for anything a filthy jihadi has to say. MEMRI’s got a clip of a TV interview with Mehsud that touches on Bin Laden and Omar (probably the same one referred to in the blockquote although there’s no way to tell) and unless they bungled the translation, he doesn’t say anything about Osama being dead. He says neither Omar, who’s long been rumored to be in Quetta, and Bin Laden, who may or may not be in the mountains around K2, aren’t in his territory. Why would the Pakistan Daily author have misrepresented what he said? Follow the link and read down to the end and you’ll see. He has an agenda, and Osama being dead very much serves that agenda.

Exit question: Why is Mehsud suddenly giving interviews to all manner of media outlets? Exit answer: Because he understands. Click the image to watch.

Update: Pakistan Daily’s having itself a big day, huh