Gilani denies Pakistani authorities knew about Bin Laden’s hideout: Report

Published: May 10, 2012

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani poses for pictures after a meeting at 10 Downing Street, London, on May 10, 2012. PHOTO: AFP

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani categorically denied that Pakistan was “complicit” in sheltering former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. “There is no complicity. I think it’s an intelligence failure from all over the world,” he said during an interview to Guardian.

Gilani, who is currently touring the UK, also denied that Pakistan’s military was aware about Bin Laden’s hideouts, or had deliberately withheld information about his whereabouts. “Why should we do that? We have suffered the most.”

Bin Laden was killed during a unilateral raid by the US in the garrison town of Abbottabad last year in May. “Osama bin Laden wasn’t a Pakistani,” Gilani pointed out in his interview.

Gilani added that Pakistan has suffered the most in the war on terror, and argued that Pakistan was a “part of the solution, not part of the problem”.

“Pakistan has paid a huge price. Some 35,000 people have been martyred. 5,000 police and soldiers have been killed,” he complained.

Ayman al-Zawahiri in Pakistan?

Responding to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s claim that al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is residing somewhere in Pakistan, Gilani denied having any information about it, instead pleaded that such intelligence be shared with Pakistani authorities.

“If there is any credible information please share it with us, so we can be quick and achieve our targets.” He gave the same response when asked about reports which suggested Taliban leader Mullah Omar being present in the country. “The CIA is far more powerful than Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service, and would have a better idea,” he said.

Relations with countries

Gilani, during the interview, admitted that relations with the US have not been “too normal” of late, but maintained that the premier intelligence agencies of both countries have been working together to “achieve” their high-level targets.

He added that terrorism was fueled in Pakistan because the US abandoned its ally after the Soviets were driven out from Afghanistan.

On relations with India, Gilani said that Pakistan was “serious” about resolving all core issues with India, including the thorny subjects of Kashmir and Siachen disputes.

Gilani termed relations with the UK as “excellent” as he begins Enhanced Strategic Dialogue with his British counterpart during his five day state visit.

On Imran Khan

The prime minister gave a “scathing” response when asked about Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, who is expected to contest the up coming general elections against Gilani’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

When asked whether Khan will be able to become prime minister in the next election, Gilani said, “if he [Khan] wins his own seat.”

He added that Khan is a good cricketer but has no future in Pakistan.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Fahad Raza
    May 10, 2012 - 8:30PM

    We Live in Denial .

    Recommend

  • Abdul Moiz
    May 10, 2012 - 8:33PM

    Living in denial seems to be our favourite pastime.Our society has created the conditions,the environment which attracts religious fanatics from all over the world to our country.They find support and applause here,they are treated as heroes,as ”mujahideen” no matter how many people they blow up.
    The spread of religious extremism in our society is worrisome and it’s not just restricted to one sect.Our public pays more importance to the performance of religious rituals than to basic human rights.Conformity to strict religious dogma is brutally enforced.Debate and discussion are treated as heresy and there is a suffocating pressure to appear as religious as possible.

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  • Bilal Anwar
    May 10, 2012 - 8:36PM

    Our authorities kept on repeating for many years that bin laden was not in pakistan,that he was hiding in afghanistan or had escaped to the middle east,then last year it emerged that he had been living amongst us for over 5 years.
    Living like an ostrich with its head in the sand won’t change reality and the rest of the world isn’t fooled by our denials any more.

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  • Muhammad Owais
    May 10, 2012 - 8:39PM

    @Abdul Moiz:

    Conformity to repetitive religious rituals and practices is highly applauded and appreciated in our society.How many times have i heard on tv people saying about a militant ‘ bauhat naik aadmi tha,paanch wakt ka namazi,rozaydar aur parhezgar insaan tha’ . It seems that if we perform religious rituals,all our sins and crimes will be forgiven by the public.

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  • roma
    May 10, 2012 - 8:50PM

    gilani shuld have kept silent or avoided questions on this matter – enough has alerady been said in the past and he shojuld have taken that position – it is an already dealt with topic ..Recommend

  • butt jee
    May 10, 2012 - 8:50PM

    It is not a simple denial. It is in fact a serious intelligence failure like the US intelligence failure in case of 9/11 attacks and wrong intelligence information regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

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  • Imran Con
    May 10, 2012 - 8:55PM

    If I remember correctly, he expressed an opinion to the contrary around the time of the contempt drama first starting.

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  • Imran Con
    May 10, 2012 - 8:57PM

    “The CIA is far more powerful than Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service, and would have a better idea,”
    But it’s supposed to be the best in the world according to most people who comment here. Not that it ever made sense in the first place with them getting caught every couple weeks.

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  • HRK
    May 10, 2012 - 9:01PM

    Where is our Defense Minister who was claiming a few days ago that US caught Osama because of “our” efforts? The worst part is that we can’t even trust our PM’s statement after seeing his true face =(Recommend

  • Tilsim
    May 10, 2012 - 9:06PM

    It’s not denial. It’s dishonesty. The stuff of politics. The statement just sounds silly. A bit like Sadaam’s spokesman silly denials on the eve of US troops entering Baghdad. He is not the only one who made these sort of statements. Other folks who speak for the nation’s security are equally culpable. The PM’s line of communications comes from another place. They don’t understand that this approach backfires on Pakistan and it’s citizens. Even if they understood this I don’t think they particularly care.

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  • Concerned
    May 10, 2012 - 9:08PM

    The whole world is now quite conversant with Pakistan’s denials for many decades, a exercise to hide its acts omissions and commissions which has resulted in loss of credibility in the international arena.

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  • Mansour Haidar Raja
    May 10, 2012 - 9:18PM

    Britain remains Within the hearts of the people of Pakistan And if I do not scared religious discrimination , Should I tell to every Muslim that The United Kingdom only friends of all peaceful Muslim Put loyalty to Britain and Britain will not disappointed you
    Long live the United Kingdom

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    May 10, 2012 - 9:18PM

    This is a matter of competence and incompetent.

    It is better to become competent rather than of becoming incompetent.

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  • Batman
    May 10, 2012 - 9:52PM

    Even the OBL letters released by US clearly suggest Pakistani authorities didn’t know of his presence. It is time we stop issuing denials and let the conspiracy nutters, who believe Pakistan was hiding OBL, dwell in their imaginary world.

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  • let there be peace
    May 10, 2012 - 11:33PM

    I salute bravery and diplomatic skills of Jigarbaaz Pakistani politicians.
    Worlds most wanted man lives in a military town for 5 years, when caught, the doctor who helped to find him gets arrested.
    After all this drama, in whole world only Pakistan can dare to say “it’s an intelligence
    failure from all over the world” and then get away with that !

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  • WhatYourStory?
    May 10, 2012 - 11:37PM

    You know! When I was studying abroad my teacher of business-law would say like: Make sure you have a story to stick too in the court. Once he said: Make certain your argument hold water( so have no holes in it). I was disappointed to hear why he is teaching about "making-up" stories or lying in court, what a shame!

    But over the course of years I realize “in the eyes of court” & also of public_ the deal is:
    It’s “his story versus mine” and that’s true, because who saw you in-the-act anyway?
    How will you establish the trust when you keep changing your story.
    Now I can say to our leaders: Have a resolution among your colleagues of “what story to tell” then “stand by it like a one man”(Something remind me of this line about a “lawyer” in our history)!

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  • Cautious
    May 10, 2012 - 11:42PM

    “There is no complicity. I think it’s
    an intelligence failure from all over
    the world,

    Same pathetic line you used last year — after a whole year I would have thought you could have come up with something more credible or at least more creative.

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  • DB
    May 11, 2012 - 12:34AM

    If Pakistan was hiding OBL, we did an amazing job with destroying all evidence of it. Of course anti-Pakistan commentators will continue believing in their skewed views.

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  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    May 11, 2012 - 12:58AM

    What if invisible SEALS once again dig out our denials??? If the required persons are somewhere in our country then who can stop US for a unilateral action, their constitution says so.Recommend

  • Nasir
    May 11, 2012 - 1:17AM

    Pakistan is either lying or totally incompetent – we have become the laughing stock of the world and when they find Al Zawari in Pakistan Mulana Gilani will make the same statement – what a clown!

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  • ali
    May 11, 2012 - 1:18AM

    UK media doesn’t care about PM’s visit to UK…there is no coverage about it..and rightly so..

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  • MyHeartSpeaks
    May 11, 2012 - 1:43AM

    Our Defence Minister’s statement or our convicted PM….. To whom show i trust? ? ?

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  • Arindom
    May 11, 2012 - 1:45AM

    More Denial! That seems to be the Foreign Policy of late – Deny everything!!

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  • Dark Knight
    May 11, 2012 - 2:01AM

    This dude Gillani is becoming second Rehman Malik, or was he always like Rehman Malik ? Nice try Mr. PM, you shamelessly blame world intelligence failure for not finding the terrorists who was found few kilometers from your military base. There is a reason why world has stopped taking Pakistan seriously. And the reason is denial instead of apology. even when the proofs are against you and your powerful friends try their best not to expose and shame you, you always do your level best in irritating and biting hands that feed. Pakistani establishment has seriously become nuisance to world. It is just matte rof time when the world will cave in to their mounting frustration and reboot the Pakistani establishment or defang it to level of making it impotent and less irritant. Sorry to all Pakistani friends. I did not write this with any prejudices against you, just couldn’t take this guy’s statement. I wish you all a better and brighter future.

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  • Jim
    May 11, 2012 - 2:48AM

    Yeah, right. It is also the failure of the rest of the world that Pakistan is broke, its people pay no taxes, its army loots the little remains of the treasury, and the prime minister goes around with a begging bowl while the military conducts nuclear missile tests.

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  • Dr V. C. Bhutani
    May 11, 2012 - 2:52AM

    Mr Gilani, if you knew that OBL was living in Abbottabad then you were complicit. If you did not know, then you were incompetent. Either way it spells damnation for you. And now, Mrs Clinton says Ayman Al Zawahiri is in Pakistan. You say he is not. Perhaps you will say the same thing about Mullah Omar, whose presence for a long time in Quetta was much written about in newspapers for a long time. The fact is Pakistan has been nurturing terror as its tool for its asymmetrical war with India – because Pakistan cannot hope to fight a regular war with India with any prospect of winning. If there is any substance to expressions of hope of better relations with India, then one thing that you need to do before expecting results is to stop your patronage to terror. Besides, you have an obligation to bring perpetrators of Mumbai 26/11 to justice, not just half-hearted stories before a court and letting off accused for want of evidence. V. C. Bhutani, Delhi, India, 11 May 2012, 0322 IST

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  • curious
    May 11, 2012 - 10:44AM

    Actually I think Gilani would not have known about OBL. It can happen. There are more important issues to tackle than finding the fugitive that was OBL.

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  • Mirza
    May 12, 2012 - 7:28AM

    BTW, who was OBL? Can anybody show us the compound on any map now? Where is the Abbottabad Commission Reoport? We would only believe our own Pakistani report, not the world opinion.

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  • Concerned
    May 12, 2012 - 11:03AM

    ‘Its a world intelligence failure’ a statement issued without application of mind and the same is devoid of any credibility. Had Pakistan accepted its intelligence failure and taken action against some its high ranking personnel, this blunder would have died its natural death but not now when a country keeps on defending the indefensible.

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  • saleem
    May 12, 2012 - 3:42PM

    Well Keep saying this. whole world knows the truth. We cannot even dream of getting visas for anywhere in the world expect a few countries in middle east who also have started to look at us with a great degree of
    suspicion.Recommend

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