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PM to brief parliament on Osama debacle

Faced with mounting criticism from the public and media for his government's response to the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani would brief the parliament on Sunday to "take the nation into confidence" on the issue.

world Updated: May 07, 2011 20:31 IST

Faced with mounting criticism from the public and media for his government's response to the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani would brief the parliament on Sunday to "take the nation into confidence" on the issue.

The announcement came after Gilani held a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari and army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to review the fallout of the killing of bin Laden in an operation by US special forces in the garrison city of Abbottabad on Monday.

"The Prime Minister will take the nation into confidence through the platform of the parliament on Monday... and looks forward to a full debate on the matter on the floor of the House," said a statement issued by Gilani's office.

A separate statement issued by the presidency said Zardari, Gilani and Kayani "took cognizance of the present situation in its totality" during their meeting.

It did not give details.

This was the first meeting of the top civilian and military leadership since the killing of bin Laden.

Gilani had held extensive consultations with the President, the army chief, defence minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, minister of state for foreign affairs Hina Rabbani Khar on the "situation arising from the Abbotabad operation resulting in the death of Osama bin Laden", said the statement from the prime minister's office.

"The situation was comprehensively reviewed in the perspective of Pakistan's national security and foreign policy," it said.

Gilani emphasised during these consultations that the "sole criteria for formulating our stance is safeguarding of Pakistan's supreme national interest, by all means, by all state institutions, in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Pakistan, who above all value their dignity and honour", the statement added.

The civil and military leadership have already said that the US did not inform Pakistan about the raid that killed bin Laden.

They have described the raid as an "unauthorised unilateral action" and the army has warned that it will respond if any other such operation is mounted by the US or any other country.

However, the government and the military leadership is facing awkward and embarrassing questions, especially from the US, about its failure to detect bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad, where he was hiding in a compound just 800 metres from an elite military training facility.

At the same time, the public have criticised the military for its perceived failure to detect or respond to the helicopter-borne raid by a crack US Navy SEAL team.