Musharraf ‘slams US’ over Bin Laden raid

FORMER Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf has slammed the United States for violating Islamabad’s sovereignty in carrying out the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, a media report say.

The former military strongman told the expatriate Pakistan community in Dubai that all “peace loving people” should be happy that Bin Laden was killed, but no Pakistani accepted the violation of their sovereignty.

“…no country will accept such a violation by the US, which undermines Pakistan’s sovereignty, army and intelligence,” Mr Musharraf was quoted as saying in The National daily. “This is not acceptable to any Pakistani individual.”

However, Mr Musharraf insisted that Pakistan and the US must work together to eliminate terrorism and urged that there should not be a showdown between the two.

“The relationship between Pakistan and the US has not been at its best for a while now, but to defeat al-Qaeda and the Taliban, which is now our biggest threat, this relationship should not develop into confrontation,” he said.

Questions have been raised in the US about Pakistan’s role in the sheltering of Bin Laden at a million-dollar villa within a stone’s throw of a prestigious Pakistan military academy at Abbottabad, near the capital Islamabad.

Mr Musharraf said he did not believe that Pakistani government or military officials had knowledge of Bin Laden’s presence or were harbouring him.

“It is not unusual for blunders to occur,” he said. “Look at 9/11 (September 11, 2001 attacks in the US) – unfortunately those attacks did happen, so where was their [US] intelligence then?”

In an interview with the National Public Radio in the US, Mr Musharraf had today blamed incompetence by his country’s intelligence agencies for allowing al-Qaeda leader to live undetected in Pakistan for years.

“One can draw only two conclusions,” Mr Musharraf told NPR.

“One is complicity from our intelligence agencies. The second is incompetence and I strongly believe in the latter,” Mr Musharraf said.

“I cannot imagine that there was complicity.”

Pakistan has come under fire for failing to track down the world’s most wanted man, who was shot dead in a raid by US commandos on May 2 in a heavily fortified compound not far from Islamabad.

Reports have said the architect of the September 11, 2011 attacks on the United States may have been living for five years in the town of Abbottabad, close to the homes of many retired Pakistani generals.

Asked whether he was upset that he did not know that Bin Laden had been sheltering in Pakistan during his presidency, Mr Musharraf said: “Frankly, yes.”

“It is terrible,” he replied, adding he wanted to ask Pakistani intelligence officials “why the hell did you not know?”

Mr Musharraf, a former Pakistani military commando and army chief, resigned as president under pressure in 2008 after initially seizing power in a 1999 coup while returning from a visit to Sri Lanka.

He now lives in self-imposed exile in London, but is wanted over the 2007 murder of ex-premier Benazir Bhutto, accused of failing to provide her with enough security.

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