Pakistan PM orders probe into bin Laden presence

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Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on Monday told the parliament that a high level investigation has been ordered into the presence of Osama bin Laden in the country's northwestern city of Abbottabad.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani (front) addresses parliament house on Abbottabad operation in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, on May 9, 2011. Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on Monday told the parliament that a high level investigation has been ordered into the presence of Osama bin Laden in the country's northwestern city of Abbottabad. [Xinhua] 

Making a policy statement on the U.S. Special Forces operation to kill the al-Qaida chief in the National Assembly, the prime minister admitted failure of the Pakistani intelligence agencies to find out Osama bin Laden.

The U.S. Special Forces raided a compound in the outskirts of Abbottabad and killed the al-Qaida chief, his son and two other men.

The prime minister said that an investigation in the matter has been ordered which shall be conducted by Adjutant General of the Pakistan Army Lt. Gen. Javed Iqbal.

He admitted failure of the Pakistani intelligence agencies to know the location of the al-Qaida chief.

"Yes, there has been an intelligence failure. It is not only ours but of all the intelligence agencies of the world," said the prime minister defending the role of the country's main intelligence agency ISI.

"It was the ISI that passed key leads to CIA that enabled the U. S. intelligence to use superior technological assets and focus on the area in which Osama bin Laden was eventually found," Gilani said.

"Pakistan alone cannot be held to account for flawed policies and blunders of others," the Prime Minister said.

"Pakistan is not the birth place of Al-Qaida. We did not invite Osama bin Laden to Pakistan or even to Afghanistan. It is fair to ask who was Osama bin Laden and what did he personify?" Gilani asked.

"Is it necessary for us to remind the international community of the decade of the nineties which saw the Arab volunteers, who had joined the Jihad mutate into al-Qaida? Who was responsible for the birth of al-Qaida? Who was responsible for making the myth of Osama bin Laden?" he further asked.

Gilani said that al-Qaida had declared war on Pakistan and that Osama Bin Laden's elimination from the scene attests to the success of the anti-terror campaign.

He recalled that after the U.S. bombing of Tora Bora mountains in Afghanistan, Pakistani forces arrested 248 fleeing al-Qaida members. "Subsequently, Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence prosecuted the anti-terror strategy with a high degree of professionalism and superb determination."

He said that some 40 of the key al-Qaida operatives including Chief Operation Officer Faraj Al Libbi and Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, the master planner of 9/11 were captured by the main intelligence agency ISI.

"No other country in the world and no other security agency has done so much to interdict al-Qaida than the ISI and our armed forces. This was done with the full support of the nation and in accordance with the political will articulated by the Parliament of Pakistan."

He said it is disingenuous for anyone to blame Pakistan or state institutions of Pakistan including the ISI and the armed forces for being in cahoots with the al-Qaida. "It was al-Qaida and its affiliates that carried out hundreds of suicide bombings in nearly every town and city of Pakistan and also targeted political leaders, state institutions, the ISI and the army general headquarters."

Gilani said allegations of complicity or incompetence are absurd. "We emphatically reject such accusations. Speculative narratives in the public domain are meant to create despondency. We will not allow our detractors to succeed in offloading their own shortcomings and errors of omission and commission in a blame game that stigmatizes Pakistan."

"This issue of the hideout needs a rational answer. Recrimination and misplaced rhetoric is self defeating," he said.

The prime minister said the al-Qaida chief along with other al- Qaida operators had managed to elude global intelligence agencies for a long time, adding that Osama was constantly being tracked not only by the ISI but also by other intelligence agencies.

He said a joint session of the Parliament has been called on Friday and that he has directed the concerned services authorities in the armed forces to impart an in-camera briefing to the joint session on the subject.

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