L ondon: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has rejected claims that Pakistan had secretly known Osama bin Laden was living in the garrison city of Abbottabad.
“There is no complicity,” said the Pakistani premier in an interview to an English daily. “Why should we do that? We have suffered the most,” he added, refuting suggestions that the country’s armed forces may have known of the former al Qaeda leader’s presence.
“I think it’s an intelligence failure from all over the world,” said Gilani, who is currently inLondonon a five-day visit.
Gilani argued thatPakistanis “part of the solution, not part of the problem” in the “global issue” of fighting terrorism.
“Pakistanhas paid a huge price. Some 35,000 people have been martyred. 5,000 police and soldiers have been killed.”
Gilani is scheduled to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday.
Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said the US believes Ayman al-Zawahiri, the al Qaeda chief after Bin Laden’s death, was hiding “somewhere in Pakistan”, pushing Islamabad to “do more” in the war on terrorism.
However, Gilani refuted the allegations, claiming he didn’t know whether al-Zawahiri was inPakistan. “If there is any credible information, please share it with us, so we can be quick and achieve our targets,” he said.
Talking aboutAfghanistan, the Pakistani premier stressed that the process of political reconciliation in the war-torn nation should be “Afghan-owned and Afghan-led,” whilePakistan’s role should be only that of a “facilitator.”
When asked if Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, might also be in the country, the prime minister replied: “I don’t know. Please tell us.” The CIA is far more “powerful” than the ISI, and would have a better idea, he said.