Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Afghanistan-Pakistan War Update: Opposition Leader Sharif Calls for Probe Into Alleged Killing of Osama bin Laden

Sharif calls for probe of Osama killing

Wed May 11, 2011 6:43PM

Pakistan's opposition leader Nawaz Sharif held a media briefing in Islamabad on May 11, 2011

Pakistan's opposition leader Nawaz Sharif demanded an independent inquiry into an unauthorized raid by US forces that allegedly led to the killing of Osama bin Laden near Islamabad.

Sharif has rejected an internal military probe ordered by the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

"We completely reject the prime minister's committee. It is powerless and cannot investigate the matter in depth," he told a news conference in Islamabad on Wednesday.

The remarks come two days after the Pakistani premier told lawmakers that an investigation had been ordered into the presence of bin Laden in Abbottabad.

Sharif, who leads the second largest party in Pakistan, emphasized the formation of an independent commission.

"This commission should ascertain the full facts of Osama bin Laden's presence and the American operation in Pakistan," he said.

Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) chief also lashed out at both the Pakistani government and military.

"We must get to the bottom of the issue. If not, then history will not forgive us," he noted

Last week, US President Barack Obama announced that the al-Qaeda leader had been killed in a US military attack on a compound near the Pakistani capital.

Washington claims its special forces killed Osama bin Laden in the attack without informing Islamabad. CIA chief Leon Panetta said the US did not inform Pakistani authorities about the raid since they feared Islamabad might disrupt the mission.

The developments come as pressure mounts on Islamabad to explain how bin Laden managed to hide out in a compound near a military camp for several years.

Washington's refusal to provide photos of bin Laden's body and the announcement that he was buried at sea has fuelled serious doubts about the claim.

Moreover, a number of former US military personnel and commanders have also stated that bin Laden was killed in a major bombing during the early stages of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Two NATO tankers torched in Pakistan

Wed May 11, 2011 10:47AM

Unidentified gunmen in southwestern Pakistan have destroyed two NATO tankers carrying fuel for US-led foreign troops in war-torn Afghanistan.

The assailants opened fire at two NATO oil tankers and then set them on fire in Balochistan province of Pakistan on Wednesday morning, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The NATO tankers were going to Karachi from Quetta when militants attacked and completely destroyed them near Ghanja Dori area of Mastung town.

Security forces have reached the area and started a search operation. No human loss was reported in the incident.

In another development, militants blew up five bridges in Bara Tehsil of Khyber Agency on the same day.

NATO supply trucks have been the frequent target of attack in Pakistan in recent months.

Pro-Taliban militants claim responsibility for such attacks, arguing that the assaults are in retaliation for non-UN-sanctioned US airstrikes on Pakistan's tribal region.

Washington claims the strikes target militants, but figures show the attacks have led to the death of hundreds of Pakistani civilians since 2008.

Despite the frequent attacks on NATO supply convoys, the US military has not stopped its unauthorized drone attacks on Pakistan's territory.

Bin Laden's son slams 'arbitrary killing'

Wed May 11, 2011 5:13AM

A son of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has criticized the “arbitrary killing” of his father by US forces, saying he deserved to be tried in a court of law.

"Why an unarmed man was not arrested and tried in a court of law so that truth is revealed to the people of the world?" said Omar bin Laden, in a statement given to the New York Times.

Osama bin Laden's fourth son, who has repeatedly distanced himself from his father, said in the statement that in the absence of a body or photographic evidence, the family has not been actually convinced that Osama is dead.

The family argued that bin Laden's killing was against international law and that figures such as executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic had been given the chance to stand trial.

"We maintain that arbitrary killing is not a solution to political problems and crime's adjudication as justice must be seen to be done."

The family said they were demanding an enquiry into why bin Laden was "summarily executed without a court of law" and demanded the release of his three wives and several children, who are believed to be in Pakistani custody.

The statement also said the US decision to bury bin Laden's corpse at sea had deprived the family of performing religious rites.

US President Barack Obama claimed that Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces on May 1 in a hiding compound in Pakistan, resisting while unarmed.

Obama added that the military mission was conducted without the knowledge of Pakistani authorities due to US mistrust of their purported South Asian ally.

A US official later announced that bin Laden's body was abruptly buried at sea, falsely boasting that his hasty burial was in accordance with the Islamic law, requiring burial within 24 hours of death.

However, burial at sea is not an Islamic practice and Islam does not have a decree on a burial timeframe.

US officials also claimed their decision of the sea burial was made because no country would accept his remains, without elaborating on which countries were actually contacted on the matter.

Analysts, however, have raised serious questions as to why US officials did not allow for the application of a DNA test to officially confirm the identity of the corpse before the quick sea burial.

Former officials with Pakistan's military and intelligence service say the US wrongfully claims it has killed bin Laden in Pakistan as part of a scheme to invade the country for harboring the terrorist leader.

Furthermore, Obama announced in a televised interview that he decided not to publish "disturbing imaged" of bin Laden's dead body to avert "a national security risk" and due to concerns that it might be used as a "propaganda tool."

The US has also rejected growing arguments that the US military effort against bin Laden in Pakistan was illegal, describing the operation as "an act of national self-defense."

US Attorney General Eric Holder told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that the killing of bin Laden was lawful and consistent with US values.

According to US media reports many US lawmakers now insist that the time for a US withdrawal from Afghanistan has arrived, arguing that the main aim of the US troop deployment to Afghanistan was to kill or capture Osama.

Pakistanis doubt US claim on Osama kill

Mon May 9, 2011 3:32PM

Residents of the Pakistani town of Abbottabad are skeptical that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden lived there and that he was killed in an American raid last week.

Last week, US President Barack Obama announced that the al-Qaeda leader had been killed by US forces after he was found hiding in a compound near Islamabad.

Washington's refusal to provide photos of bin Laden's body and the announcement that he was buried at sea has fuelled further doubts.

Some local media outlets and Urdu-language newspapers in Pakistan have reported that a local man was killed in the raid and not the al-Qaeda leader.

The English-language daily Dawn has reported bin Laden may have been murdered by his own bodyguard.

Moreover, bin Laden's youngest wife Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah has told Pakistani investigators she did not witness her husband being killed.

Meanwhile, contradictory stories are emerging from the White House about the military operation. One of the contradictions includes comments about an unarmed bin Laden putting up a fight.

Amid the growing controversy about how much Pakistani authorities knew about bin Laden, there are also questions about how two US military helicopters landed near Islamabad without the knowledge of Pakistan's Inter- Services Intelligence (ISI) and its military.

Some analysts believe that the operation was a joint, prearranged show by the US and ISI and that bin Laden was not in the reported compound, as he had already been killed.

Former Pakistani Premier Benazir Bhutto said in a 2007 interview, following a failed assassination attempt on her life, that bin Laden had been "murdered" years ago.

Moreover, a number of former US military personnel and commanders have also stated that bin Laden was killed in a major bombing during the early stages of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

No comments: