Pakistan Rejects Bin Laden Criticism
by IPT News • May 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm
Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has rejected criticism of his nation's counterterrorism efforts and called claims that Pakistan sheltered Osama bin Laden "absurd." The discovery of bin Laden on Pakistani soil has created skepticism about the nation's commitment to fighting terror.
"No other country in the world and no other security agency has done so much to interdict Al-Qaeda, than the ISI [Pakistani intelligence] and our armed forces," said Gilani. "This was done with the full support of the nation and in accordance with the political will articulated by the Parliament of Pakistan."
"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."
During an interview broadcast Sunday on "60 Minutes," President Obama said it was clear there was some "sort of support network for bin Laden inside of Pakistan. But we don't know who or what that support network was. We don't know whether there might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government, and that's something that we have to investigate, and more importantly, the Pakistani government has to investigate."
In apparent retaliation for the American allegations, Pakistani authorities have leaked the name of the C.I.A. station chief in Islamabad to local news sources. The incident was the second time in five months that Pakistani authorities have tried to embarrass U.S. intelligence in their country. "It is [a deliberate effort to complicate the work of the American spy agency in the aftermath of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden," the New York Times quoted unnamed American officials as saying.
Counterterrorism in the region had already been a difficult task, with Pakistan's neighbor Iran actively countering U.S. efforts. Iran's intelligence minister Heidar Moslehi recently tried to undermine the American assassination of bin Laden, saying that "We have accurate information that bin Laden died of illness some time ago." He also questioned, "why don't they show him (his dead body), why have they thrown his corpse into the sea?"