Sun, May 15, 2011 - Page 6 News List

Pakistan parliament blasts US

JUNIOR PARTNER:Legislators said that ‘unilateral’ US action was unacceptable and the government should consider cutting US supply lines to Afghanistan unless they stopped

Reuters, ISLAMABAD

Pakistan’s parliament yesterday condemned the US raid to find and kill Osama bin Laden, calling for a review of US ties and warning that Pakistan could cut supply lines to US forces in Afghanistan if there were any more such attacks.

Pakistan’s intelligence chief was cited as saying he was ready to resign over the bin Laden affair, which has embarrassed the country and led to suspicions that Pakistani security agents knew where the al-Qaeda chief was hiding.

On Friday, two suicide bombers attacked a military academy in a northwestern town killing 80 people in what Pakistani Taliban militants said was their first act of revenge for bin Laden’s death on May 2.

The secret US raid on bin Laden’s hideout in the garrison town of Abbottabad, 50km north of Islamabad, has strained already prickly ties with the US.

It has also led to domestic criticism of the government and military, partly because bin Laden had apparently remained undetected in Pakistan for years, but also because of the failure to detect or stop the US operation to get him.

“Parliament ... condemned the unilateral action in Abbottabad which constitutes a violation of Pakistan’s sovereign,” it said in a resolution issued after security chiefs briefed legislators.

Pakistan has dismissed as absurd any suggestion that authorities knew bin Laden was holed up in a high-walled compound near the country’s top military academy.

The administration of US President Barack Obama has not accused Pakistan of complicity in hiding bin Laden, but has said he must have had some sort of support network, which it wants to uncover.

Pakistan has a long record of using Islamist militants as proxies, especially to counter the influence of nuclear-armed rival, India.

Members of the two houses of parliament said the government should review ties with the US to safeguard Pakistan’s national interests and also called for an end to US attacks on militants with its pilotless drone aircraft.

Pakistan officially objects to the drone attacks, saying they violate its sovereignty and feed public anger, although US officials have long said they are carried out under an agreement between the countries.

The legislators said US “unilateral actions” such as the Abbottabad raid and drone strikes were unacceptabl, and the government should consider cutting vital US lines of supply for its forces in Afghanistan unless they stopped.

Hours earlier, a US drone fired missiles at a vehicle in North Waziristan on the Afghan border killing alleged five militants.

It was the fourth drone attack since bin Laden was killed.

Police in Charsadda said they had recovered for analysis body parts of the two bombers who struck at the gates of a paramilitary force academy in the town of Charsadda as recruits were pouring out to go on leave.

A Taliban spokesman said on Friday the attack was in revenge for bin Laden’s death and vowed there would be more.

“Obviously, they are involved as they are the only one’s who can carry out such suicide bombings. No-one else can do it,” senior police officer Jehanzeb Khan said.

Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, head of the military’s main Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, told parliament in a closed-door briefing he was “ready to resign” over the bin Laden affair, a legislator said.

Pasha told the assembly he did not want to “hang around” if parliament deemed him responsible, member of parliament Riaz Fatyana told reporters.

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