Pakistan Launches Bin Laden Inquiry

World | May 9, 2011, Monday // 17:44|  views

"We are determined to get to the bottom of how, when and why about OBL's presence in Abbottabad," Gilani told parliament. Photo by EPA/BGNES

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".

In a statement to MPs about the US special forces raid which led to the death of Bin Laden last week, Gilani said Lieutenant-General Javed Iqbal would lead the investigation into the failures to detect Bin Laden.

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

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 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.

"It was the ISI that passed leads to the CIA that enabled the US intelligence to use superior technological assets and focus on the area in which Osama Bin Laden was eventually found."

Despite his criticism of the US, he also said that Washington remained a key ally of Islamabad.

"We have a strategic partnership that we believe is in our mutual interest."

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Tags: al-Qaeda, bin Laden, Gilani, Yusuf Raza, Pakistan, Osama Bin Laden, Pakistani


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