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New Pak panel to probe US raid

world Updated: Jun 20, 2011 01:22 IST

Pakistan is set to appoint a new commission to ascertain “full facts” about Osama bin Laden’s presence in the country and probe the unilateral US raid that killed the al Qaeda chief.

Law minister Maula Bakhsh Chandio said a new commission will soon be set to start the investigation. “Consultations are under way for the new panel,” he told Dawn News channel.

A previous panel appointed by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in late May faced controversy even before it could become operational, with the head of the commission and a member dropping out on the grounds that the government had not conducted consultations before naming them.

Gilani had formed a five-member commission to be headed by Supreme Court justice Javed Iqbal, who said the Chief Justice was not consulted before he was named the chief of the panel.

Former SC judge Fakhruddin G Ibrahim, who was made a member, too refused to be part of the panel. Legal experts insisted that a judge cannot be made the head of a probe panel unless permission is sought from the Chief Justice of the SC.

Supreme Court Bar Association chairperson Asma Jehangir raised objections regarding the panel and said the Chief Justice should have been informed prior to Iqbal’s nomination as the head of the body.

Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif asked the government to form an independent and powerful commission to expose all mysteries surrounding bin Laden’s presence in the country and the failure of intelligence agencies to detect the US military helicopters.

The unilateral US raid in Abbottabad on May 2 had sparked widespread protests across Pakistan as the air force’s radar system did not detect the movement of the American helicopters that participated in the 40-minute operation.