WORLD -- May 9, 2011 at 1:43 PM EDT
Pakistani PM: Charges of Complicity in bin Laden Hideout 'Absurd'
In an address to Pakistan's parliament Monday, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said his government would launch an investigation into how Osama bin Laden was able to reside undetected in his compound in Abbottabad but said charges that Pakistan had knowledge of his whereabouts are "absurd."
"We did not invite al-Qaida to Pakistan," he said, adding that bin Laden "had managed to elude global intelligence agencies for a long time. He was constantly being tracked, not only by the ISI but also by other intelligence agencies."
Though Pakistani officials have denied any knowledge of his whereabouts, some have questioned if elements of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency may have been aware of his whereabouts. The ISI, responsible for spying operations, has been accused of maintaining ties to some extremist groups.
Gilani decried the launching of the raid on Pakistani soil without prior consent. He said in the future, "Pakistan reserves the right to retaliate with full force" against unilateral actions that threaten its sovereignty.
Despite the tensions caused by the raid and subsequent fallout, Gilani said "Pakistan attaches high importance to its relations with the U.S.," a nod to the strained but strategic alliance between Islamabad and Pakistan that has seen both public reinforcement and ongoing criticism from both sides. The U.S. continues to provide aid funds to Pakistan in exchange for helping root out terrorist groups within its borders.
In an interview on Sunday's "60 Minutes," President Obama said he was aware of the political risks of conducting the raid but decided to proceed with the intelligence available. "[A]t the end of the day, this was still a 55-45 situation. I mean, we could not say definitively that bin Laden was there. Had he not been there, then there would have been significant consequences," the president said.
Over the weekend, Pakistani media reported the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad, a name the Associated Press says is wrong.