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Pak army's top brass 'rattled and shaken' on bin Laden issue

world Updated: May 05, 2011 14:39 IST
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The Pakistani army has taken charge of investigation into the circumstances of how slain al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was living in a house near Islamabad amidst growing outrage over its role.

The army has taken over the investigations from the police, the New York Times reported quoting highly placed Pakistani officials.

Intelligence agencies have detained 11 people for questioning including an immediate neighbour who worked with the family.

The army's take over of investigation comes amidst reports that the property might have been acquired by other terror groups and handed over to bin Laden as a safe house.

The media reports have already hinted that military intelligence agencies were working to wipe out revenue records which might indicate militant links to the property.

The reports said army was investigating identity of four people, whose body were found inside the compound after the American SEALs had flown away with bin Laden.

The bodies include two brothers who had claimed to own the property and a son of bin Laden. While the American officials have said the fourth person killed was a woman, Pakistani officials say that the fourth is an unknown man.

In a new development Afghan intelligence officials have claimed they had pinpointed the compound last August as an al Qaeda safe house but they thought a senior Taliban commander Maulvi Abdul Kabir was living there.

"Afghan agents living in an old refugee camp in the nearby town of Haripur carried out the surveillance of the house," NYT said.

The move by the army to take over the investigation comes even as the credibility of it has plunged to its lowest and has raised calls for an independent enquiry into the episode, the daily said.

The demand of enquiry, the daily said, appeared to be focused less on the circumstances of a terror mastermind hiding in an urban area and more on whether the military could defend Pakistan's border and its nuclear arsenal from being snatched or attacked by the US or India.

NYT said army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the head of ISI Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha have remained silent on the issue but have met President Asif Ali Zardari.

In Pakistan's Parliament, Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said the American helicopters had evaded detection by radar due to hilly terrain and by flying at tree top level, an account that has failed to comfort anyone.

But media reports said a serious churning on the issue at the General Headquarters was underway to discuss the situation following the killing of bin Laden in a compound located a short distance from the Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad.

All the key Corps commanders and some selected civilians have been invited to the discussion.

Notwithstanding this postmortem, New York Times said the army top brass was "rattled and shaken" on the issue.