Saturday, May 14, 2011

14/05 Pakistan condemns Bin Laden raid and US drone attacks

People protest outside parliament in Islamabad, Pakistan (13 May 2011)US drone attacks in Pakistan have led to increasing public anger

Pakistan's parliament has called for a review of the country's relationship with the US over the American commando raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

During a long joint session held to debate the US operation, MPs called for an independent investigation.

They unanimously passed a resolution urging a ban on Nato transit convoys unless the US ends drone attacks.

The session followed Friday's double suicide bombing that killed 80 people in north-western Pakistan.

At least 120 others were wounded in the attack on a Frontier Constabulary training centre in Shabqadar, Charsadda district.

Heightened security

The Pakistani Taliban said they carried out the attack - this year's deadliest on the security forces - to avenge Bin Laden's death.


None of the new resolutions adopted by Pakistan's parliament following the Bin Laden affair deals with the issue of the al-Qaeda leader's presence in this country.

Instead, most of the discussion in this special session centred on Pakistan's relationship with the United States.

There was strong condemnation in the resolutions that were adopted - of US operations in Pakistan and of what parliament called the "campaign to malign Pakistan".

Rather than any public criticism of the Pakistani security forces from the government, there was a resolution affirming full confidence in them.

MPs who attended the closed session though, said the head of the intelligence agencies, Gen Pasha, who made a rare appearance to explain himself, had a tough time from some quarters and offered his resignation - though the prime minister did not accept it.

The 2 May US raid on the al-Qaeda leader's Abbottabad hideout has left Washington-Islamabad relations at an all-time low, correspondents say.

Members of the US Congress have been calling for Washington to cut its billions of dollars in aid to Islamabad, saying some Pakistani officials must have known Bin Laden was hiding in the country.

On Saturday, the parliament in Islamabad said the American operation was a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty.

The MPs' resolution was passed after a joint session, under heightened security, lasting more than 10 hours.

"The people of Pakistan will no longer tolerate such actions and repeat of unilateral measures could have dire consequences for peace and security in the region and the world," the AFP news agency quoted the resolution as saying.


An investigation should take place to "fix responsibility and recommend necessary measures to ensure that such an incident does not recur", it added.

The resolution also labelled as "unacceptable" the US use of pilotless planes to attack militants along the mountainous border with Afghanistan.

It said if the attacks did not stop, the government should consider stopping the transit of supplies through its territory for Nato forces in Afghanistan.

More than 100 drone strikes are estimated to have been carried out last year.

Man wounded in bomb attacks in Shabqadar, Charsadda district, north-west Pakistan, is rushed to hospital - 13 May 2011

Correspondents say Islamabad has tacitly approved of such US air strikes, although Pakistani leaders have always denied supporting them.

In recent months senior Pakistani security officials have reportedly been pressing for a limit to such operations, in the face of public anger over civilian casualties.

During the parliamentary session, Pakistan's army chiefs appeared before MPs to explain their actions over Bin Laden's death.

Lt Gen Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, head of Pakistan's security services, is reported to have told MPs that he had offered to quit after the US Navy Seals raid, but had been turned down by the army chief.

Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said Lt Gen Pasha had told MPs he was ready to take responsibility for any criminal failing.

Pakistani leaders have insisted they had no idea Bin Laden was holed up in the country.

More on This Story

No comments:

Post a Comment