Pakistan starts Bin Laden inquiry

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Pakistan starts Bin Laden inquiry

Post  Admin on Tue May 10, 2011 9:33 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13330909

Pakistan is to launch an investigation into how Osama Bin Laden was able to live in the garrison city of Abbottabad undetected, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has told parliament.

But he insisted that allegations of Pakistani complicity and incompetence were "absurd".

US President Barack Obama has urged Pakistan to investigate the suspected network that sustained Bin Laden.

Mr Obama said it had to find out if any officials knew of his whereabouts.

In a statement to MPs about the raid by US special forces which led to the death of Bin Laden last week, Mr Gilani said Lt-Gen Javed Iqbal would lead the investigation into the failures to detect the al-Qaeda leader.

"We are determined to get to the bottom of how, when and why about OBL's presence in Abbottabad," Mr Gilani said.

He mounted a strong defence of Pakistan's record in fighting terrorism, highlighting the "price paid" in civilian and military losses, and the numbers of al-Qaeda militants killed or arrested.

Continue reading the main story
Analysis


Syed Shoaib Hasan
BBC News, Islamabad
Mr Gilani's support for the military and the ISI was especially significant, given that both have come under national and international criticism.

But it is also understandable as Pakistan's political elite remains heavily dependent on the army.

Mr Gilani leads a weak coalition government which could have the rug pulled from under its feet if it is perceived to move against Pakistan's national interest.

Mr Gilani's speech may lessen the anger directed by the Pakistani public towards the army.

But it does not succeed in answering many questions - particularly how Bin Laden was able to live in Abbottabad without the knowledge of the country's intelligence agencies.

There have been suspicions that someone in Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, which has a long history of contacts with militant groups, may have known where Bin Laden was hiding.

But Mr Gilani told MPs that the ISI, and the military, had the full support and confidence of the government.

He said the US raid was "a violation of sovereignty", and suggested that Washington had helped create al-Qaeda during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The US had then widely dispersed al-Qaeda's fighters by following a "flawed" military strategy to try to capture Bin Laden in the mountains of Tora Bora in 2001, he added.

"We did not invite al-Qaeda to Pakistan," he insisted, saying that the failure to find Bin Laden for 10 years was the result of "an intelligence failure... of all the intelligence agencies of the world" and that "blame games serve no purpose".

He added: "The al-Qaeda chief, along with other al-Qaeda operators, had managed to elude global intelligence agencies for a long time. He was constantly being tracked, not only by the ISI but also by other intelligence agencies.


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