London: The power elite of Pakistan is "profoundly duplicitous," says controversial Indian-origin author Salman Rushdie, who finds it "ludicrous" that al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden hid in the heart of that country without anybody's knowledge.

Calling the system in Pakistan "deeply unstable, corrupt and militarist", Rushdie said the Indian perspective would believe that in having Pakistan as an ally, the West "is
in bed with the wrong people".
   
"For those of us who've been watching for a while, this is not rocket science. If you look at this from the Indian side of the frontier, you know that Pakistan has been harbouring terrorists forever," Rushdie told The Times.

The Midnight's Children author also said he had never believed that bin laden would be hiding in a mountainous cave and he was hardly surprised that he was found in Abbottabad.
   
"In this case it was obvious that someone like bin Laden could not have hidden out for a decade in Pakistan, which is not a wilderness.
   
"I never believed the cave. I thought, 'This is a rich kid who's grown up in a world of enormous wealth; he ain't living in no cave'. And Abbottabad? You're living next door to West Point? In a town where all your neighbours are retired generals... Your house is eight times the size of the next-biggest house? And nobody wants to know who lives there? Ludicrous," he said.
   
Terming the power elite of Pakistan as "profoundly duplicitous," he contrasted the set up in that country with India which has a "stable democracy".

"Over there (in Pakistan), deeply unstable, corrupt, militarist, cronyist ratf***. That's the technical term. You choose your ally," the author was quoted as saying.
   
In 2009, Rushdie had remarked that the West should be tougher on Pakistan - surely a prescient remark after the death of bin Laden, the paper said.
   
"From the Indian perspective, this doesn't look like the right ally for the Americans. Maybe you're in bed with the wrong people," Rushdie said.
   
He was also critical of what he called "the cultural relativist mistake" of the UK, regarding tolerance of religious extremism.
    "
The mistake is to think that this is their culture and you've got to let them have it; at the lunatic fringes you get people like George Galloway, and a tolerance for what ought to be intolerable.
   
"But the problem is the mainstream acceptance of his relativist argument; and I think that's dangerous," he said.
   
Referring to the revolutions in the Arab world, Rushdie pointed out that the spirit behind these uprisings was not religious -- a lesson that should be learnt from the Arab Spring.
   
"It's an old-fashioned revolution: It's about jobs and freedom. What it shows is that people everywhere want the same thing. The idea that Islamic culture is different, that Islamic people want different things -- garbage.
   
"Everybody wants the same thing: to be free, to choose their own futures, to feel that there is a future. This is universal," he said.

(Agencies)