Pakistan's parliament condemns US bin Laden raid

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The Independent Online

Pakistan's parliament today 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 American forces in Afghanistan if there were 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 suspicion that Pakistani security agents knew where the al-Qa'ida chief was hiding.



The secret US raid on bin Laden's lair in the garrison town of Abbottabad, 30 miles north of Islamabad, has strained already prickly ties with the United States.



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 US administration 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 United States to safeguard Pakistan's national interests and they 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 unacceptable, 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 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 yesterday the attack was in revenge for bin Laden's death and vowed there would be more.



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



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.



"I am ready to resign," Fatyana quoted the ISI chief as saying.



Pakistani officials say there has been a breakdown in trust with the United States.



In a sign of the chill in ties, the chairman of Pakistan's joint chiefs of staff committee, General Khalid Shameem Wynne, canceled a five-day visit to the United States that had been set to begin on May 22.

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