Claims being made that Pakistan had been “in cahoots” with al-Qaeda and had sheltered Osama bin Laden were refuted robustly today by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. He was speaking to parliament, his first public statement since the US raid to kill Osama bin Laden.
He pointed to Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war on terror, dismissing claims the intelligence services and army were at fault. He added the blame game would achieve nothing, and that there had been a failure on the part of all intelligence services trying to hunt down the terrorist leader.
“Our nation is united in its resolve to eliminate terrorism from our sacred land. Pakistan will not relent in this national cause and it is determined not to allow its soil to be used by anyone for terrorism.”
The US raid on Abbottabad angered many Pakistanis who felt their nation was being pushed around and its sovereignty flouted. Some also wondered how the al-Qaeda leader had been able to live among them for so long.Others complained that criticisms of their country were unfair, as it was on the frontline in the war on terror, as Gilani said, a “victim” of the terrorists and the campaign against them.
He warned operations of the kind that the US mounted against bin Laden were “dangerous”, but stressed the importance of the relationship with the USA to Pakistan.