10 May 2011

Pakistan leader rejects 'absurd' bin Laden allegations

6:22 am on 10 May 2011

Pakistan's Prime Minister has rejected allegations that the killing of Osama bin Laden by US troops in the country showed incompetence on the part of Pakistani authorities, or complicity in hiding the al-Qaeda leader.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani told parliament Pakistan will launch an investigation into how bin Laden was able to live in the garrison city of Abbottabad undetected.

However he said allegations the country's intelligence service was working with al Qaeda were absurd.

The fact that bin Laden was found hiding in a town 50 kilometres from the capital has led to accusations that Pakistani security agencies were either incompetent or sheltering the world's most wanted man.

The United States has stopped short of accusing Pakistan of providing shelter to bin Laden, though President Barack Obama has urged the country to investigate the suspected network that sustained the al-Qaeda leader.

Mr Gilani told MPs that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, and the military, had the full support and confidence of the government, and added that the al-Qaeda chief had eluded all the intelligence agencies in the world.

He suggested that Washington had helped create al-Qaeda during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Pakistan's main opposition party has called on Mr Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari to resign over the breach of sovereignty by US special forces who slipped in from Afghanistan to storm the compound where bin Laden was holed up.