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Pakistan's leaders squirm in spotlight

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Pakistan's leaders squirm in spotlight


Difficult questions were being asked in Pakistan on Tuesday following the bin Laden raid.

Although the atmosphere is calm, many seem bemused. How could US helicopters fly in with crack troops and do what they did without so much as a by-your-leave?

No-one in government says they were told, and the president has kept silent on both the raid and the awkward fact that bin Laden appeared to have been living in Pakistan for five or six years with impunity.

Former president Pervez Musharraf, who is now living in exile in London, blamed Pakistani and US intelligence.

“Why didn’t this happen before? Because we didn’t know where he was. One can call it a failure or a shortcoming of intelligence, but then it’s a shortcoming of both the intelligence services, Pakistan and the United States,” he said.

He added: “This was the best, good military action. But, having said that, it was not good politically; the sensitivities of Pakistan regarding the violation of the sovereignty of Pakistan.”

Many wondered at the deafening silence coming from their leaders, and while the noise of some hardliners filled the vacuum, pro-bin Laden marches were few and far between in Pakistan’s capital and beyond.

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