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Pak media calls for probe on intelligence lapse

world Updated: May 09, 2011 11:03 IST

An inquiry is needed to look into "gaps in the defence and security system" that allowed US helicopters to fly deep inside Pakistan undetected during the operation to kill Osama bin Laden, a leading daily has said.

The al Qaeda leader was killed on May 2, in a daring raid undertaken by US Navy SEALs who flew into Abbottabad in stealth helicopters.

An editorial in the Dawn on Monday said it was, "a rather courageous step by the Pakistan Air Force to explain why it had failed to detect the US helicopters..."

Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman reportedly said the radars along Pakistan's western border had been inactive on the day in question. A day later, PAF spokesman Air Commodore Tariq Yazdani said the air surveillance system had neither been jammed nor had it been inactive. "Given that he was unable to confirm whether the PAF had been aware of the helicopters' incursion, we are left with even more questions."

The editorial stated that "the list of Pakistan's intelligence failures in terms of (Osama's) whereabouts constitutes a damning body of evidence".

"All these revelations are not just embarrassing; they also raise serious doubts about a defence and security establishment that prides itself on its effective professionalism."

It went on to say that army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has ordered an investigation into the intelligence failures that led to Osama's undetected presence, and "why US personnel were able to enter Pakistani territory without the country's security forces noticing".

"Terrorists strike across the country with impunity; now, it seems that external forces can also enter undetected. An inquiry is needed not only into the recent intelligence failures but also the gaps in the defence and security system," the editorial added