Pakistan slams US for unilateral action, warns India too

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Islamabad:  After severe criticism from America, Pakistan retaliated today with strong words that warned it would not allow more Osama-type raids. The Pakistani government also warned India that "this sort of misadventure would result in a terrible catastrophe."

"As far as Pakistan is concerned...there should be no mistake...that the people, leadership and parliament of Pakistan hold their dignity and honour dear...we are determined to uphold our sovereignty," said Salman Bashir, the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan. He was referring to America's clearly-stated position - that it did not inform Pakistan that US helicopters and 24 Navy SEALs were swooping into a house in Abbottabad near Islamabad to capture Osama bin Laden. The Al Qaeda leader was shot dead there. "This action was a covert action. Pakistan was not consulted," Mr Bashir said.   

Since 1 am on Monday when bin Laden was killed, Pakistan has been under international fire for not knowing that the world's most-wanted terrorist was in a garrison town that's essentially a suburb of Islamabad. The house he was discovered in was built five years ago. CIA chief Leon Panetta told US politicians yesterday that "Pakistan was either incompetent or involved."   

On Monday night, the Pakistani government issued a strong statement that was critical of America's "unilateral operation". Its leaders have said their sovereignty was violated. America has been unapologetic. On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "We make no apologies about that...He was enemy number one for this country and killed many, many innocent civilians." Yesterday, Mr Carney warned of more Abbottabads - "The US will again carry out special operations in Pakistan like the one that killed Osama to target high-profile terrorists, if Pakistan does not act against terror suspects holed up in that country."

That comment has irked Pakistan which also used the occasion to warn India that "Any other country that would ever act on assumption that it has the right to unilateralism of any sort will find as far as Pakistan is concerned that it has made a basic mistake." The Indian Army and Air Force Chief recently said that if needed, they would be able to deliver an Osama-type operation to nab those wanted for 26/11. "We see a lot of bravado in our own region," said Mr Bashir, "there are statements that have come across...from the military...the air force...that states that this can be repeated. We feel that sort of misadventure would result in a terrible catastrophe."

Mr Bashir also said those who believe that Osama could not have lived in Abbottabad without the cooperation of Pakistani army or intelligence officials are wrong.

"It's easy to say that elements within the government were in cahoots with the Al Qaeda. This is a false charge. It cannot be validated. It flies in the face of what ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) has been able to accomplish in the war on terror," he said.

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