Ask any Pakistani if they had imagined Osama bin Laden had been in their midst for years and most would have laughed.
He evaded capture thanks to “intelligence failures on both sides” insisted Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on Monday, speaking in parliament.
“Allegations of complicity or incompetence are absurd. We emphatically reject such accusations. Speculative narratives in the public domain are meant to create despondency. We are determined to get to the bottom of how, when, and why about Osama bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. An investigation has been ordered,” he announced.
Beyond the bin Laden raid, Gilani addressed the continuing and unpopular use of American drones to kill Taliban members on Pakistani soil, often with civilian casualties.
“The drones are given out as an instrument to fight terror, yet as we have repeatedly said these attacks constitute a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and are counter-productive. On this question which relates to operational matters we have strong differences with the USA,” he said.
Despite his criticisms of Washington, Gilani underlined the importance of Pakistan’s relationship with America, but the speech seemed to be aimed at those there who felt betrayed by Pakistan. “We are the frontline victims of terror, do not forget that”, he said.