Pakistan PM to speak on bin Laden raid

May 9, 2011 12:00 am

, ISLAMABAD, May 9 – Pakistan\’s prime minister is to brief parliament Monday on the US operation that killed Osama bin Laden which has sparked a furious backlash and ignited calls for leaders to resign.

Pakistanis have expressed horror at the perceived impunity of the American raid, furiously asking whether their military was too incompetent to know bin Laden was in the area or, even worse, conspired to protect him.

The debacle has been one of the biggest embarrassments ever to hit Pakistan\’s powerful military establishment and the civilian leadership has been left reeling, forced to explain itself in parliament.

A senior government official told AFP that Yousuf Raza Gilani would address the lower house of parliament later Monday and "take the nation into confidence" on the May 2 operation in the garrison city of Abbottabad.

"Gilani will speak in detail on various aspects of the operation, Pakistan\’s sacrifices in the war against terrorism and its future strategy to deal with the menace," the official said.

A week after an elite team of Navy SEALs flew in, seemingly undetected by Pakistan, killed the Al-Qaeda leader and flew off with his body, senior US officials say they had no proof Islamabad knew about his hideout.

The fact that bin Laden was hiding for up to five years in the garrison city less than a mile from Pakistan\’s top military academy and only two hours\’ drive from Islamabad, has deeply strained ties with the United States.

US President Barack Obama has pressed Pakistan to investigate how bin Laden managed to live for years under the nose of its military, saying he must have been supported by locals.

Outraged US lawmakers have voiced suspicion that elements of Pakistan\’s military intelligence services must have known his whereabouts, and are demanding that billions of dollars in American aid be suspended.

Opposition politicians have already demanded that Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari resign.

Tensions were already at a low ebb after a CIA contractor killed two men and was subsequently detained for seven weeks.

The US drone war against militants in Pakistan\’s tribal belt and the US jailing of Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui for 86 years for attempted murder of US military officers are other long-running sources of tension.

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