Pakistan PM rejects accusations over bin Laden

Gilani says "allegations of complicity or incompetence are absurd"; warns of consequences of US raid that killed al-Qaida leader.

By REUTERS
May 9, 2011 17:07
1 minute read.
Pakistani PM Yusuf Raza Gilani

Gilani 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani rejected on Monday allegations that the killing of Osama bin Laden by US troops in the country showed Pakistani incompetence or complicity in hiding the al-Qaida leader.

Opposition politicians have stepped up their criticism of Pakistan's leaders over the killing of bin Laden in a raid by US special forces in a northern Pakistani town on May 2.

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Pakistan welcomed the death of bin Laden, who plotted the Sept. 11, 2001, airliner attacks on the United States, as a step in the fight against terror but also complained that the raid was a violation of its sovereignty.

The fact that bin Laden was found hiding in the garrison town of Abbottabad, 50 km (30 miles) from the capital, has led to accusations that Pakistani security agencies were either incompetent or sheltering the world's most wanted man.

"Allegations of complicity or incompetence are absurd," Gilani said in a televised address to parliament, adding that it was disingenuous for anyone to accuse Pakistan, including its spy agency, of "being in cahoots" with the al-Qaida network.

The US raid has added to strains in ties between Islamabad and Washington, which are crucial to combating Islamist militants and to bringing stability to Afghanistan.

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The United States has stopped short of accusing Pakistan of providing shelter to bin Laden.

Gilani warned that unilateral actions such as the US Navy SEALs swoop on bin Laden's hideout ran the risk of serious consequences, but he added that Pakistan attached high importance to its relations with the United States.

Pakistan's main opposition party has called on Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari to resign over the breach of sovereignty by US special forces who slipped in from Afghanistan to storm the compound where bin Laden was holed up.

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