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ISI head briefs Pakistani lawmakers on bin Laden affair

Other News Materials 13 May 2011 17:43
Pakistan's intelligence chief on Friday briefed lawmakers in a closed-door meeting about the spy agencies' double failure to trace al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden or anticipate the US raid to kill him.
ISI head briefs Pakistani lawmakers on bin Laden affair

Pakistan's intelligence chief on Friday briefed lawmakers in a closed-door meeting about the spy agencies' double failure to trace al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden or anticipate the US raid to kill him, DPA reported.

The intelligence fiasco has put the military, which considers itself the country's most disciplined institution, under immense pressure, both from the United States and domestic critics.

Many western analysts see Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) as far too close to the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Islamist extremists - a perception reinforced by the fact bin Laden was found to be living in a Pakistani military garrison town.

Lieutenant General Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, the head of the Inter- Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, started a briefing after the opening remarks by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in the joint session of the upper and lower houses of the national parliament.

"The prime minister told the meeting that will do everything necessary to protect the sovereignty and interests of the country," said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We will answer any question on the Abbottabad operation and national security," Gilani was cited as saying.

Army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and the heads of Pakistan Navy and Air Force also attended the briefing.

Gilani arranged the briefing to provide first-hand information to parliament on the US operation that killed Bin Laden amid mounting criticism on the role of the military in the affair.

Opposition leader and former two-time prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, asked Wednesday what the army was doing while bin Laden lived for years barely a kilometre from its military academy in Abbotabad.

The government has not announced a detailed agenda for the briefing.

"The army will ask the elected members for guidance on how to deal with the post-bin Laden situation," political analyst Shafqat Mehmood told Geo television.

Security has been increased in the capital ahead of the briefing. Police were carrying out random checks on vehicles and helicopters were flying over the city.

Eighty people, mostly policemen, were killed Friday in an attack by two suicide bombers at a police training academy in the Shabqadar area of north-west Pakistan.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was to avenge the killing of Osama bin Laden by US special forces on May 2.

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