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Mute government angers Pakistan

world Updated: May 03, 2011 00:56 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

The Pakistani government’s decision to disassociate itself from Monday morning’s raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed has sparked anger in political circles in this country, not so much his killing.

After going into a huddle at 11am on Monday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced that bin Laden’s death was a “significant victory for Pakistan”. The meeting was attended by President Asif Ali Zardari, Gilani, Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani and ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha.

Soon after, the foreign office issued a statement saying the operation was conducted solely by American forces and that US President Barack Obama phoned Zardari soon after the operation to inform him about it.

“This operation was conducted by the US forces in accordance with the declared US policy that Osama bin Laden would be eliminated in a direct action by the US forces, wherever found in the world,” the foreign office statement said.

Fears that militants will target Pakistani forces to avenge the killing of bin Laden and his family members and colleagues may have prompted the Pakistani government to distance itself from the operation.

Except for some right-wing parties who called it an outrage, no major political party has condemned the killing of bin Laden. Their bigger problem is the silence of the government.

Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif said the operation was an attack on Pakistan's sovereignty.

“We have a right to know what happened and what cooperation Pakistan provided the Americans,” he said.

Right now, few in the government are willing to give out that information. On the Pakistani streets, the reaction to bin Laden's death too has been muted.

There were no major disruption, except in Karachi and that too because a local leader was killed in an unrelated shooting.

Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan and former president Pervez Musharraf condemned the American action but agreed that Bin Laden's death would go a long way in the fight terrorism.