Islamabad: Pakistan`s former intelligence chief chided the US on Thursday for not sharing information about Osama bin Laden`s whereabouts and challenged American intelligencpts against President Musharraf himself."
Just as Pakistan intelligence officials were about to arrest him, the US asked if they could wait.
The US officials said, "Could you please hold on. Don`t take him," Haq said, recounting how Pakistani intelligence cooperated with the US "Maybe this guy can lead us to Osama bin Laden.”
Haq said Pakistan tried during the next six to eight months to find ties between al-Libi and bin Laden; when they found no links, they arrested al-Libi.
Haq was pointedly asked how Pakistani officials couldn`t have known bin Laden was in the country.
"How is it possible that he was sitting there and nobody knew? Well, it is possible," Haq said. "For those who do intelligence work, they will tell you that it`s possible."
Then he chided the US for not sharing intelligence about bin Laden`s whereabouts.
"It should have been a joint operation, it would have been a success story," Haq said, adding that it would have strengthened cooperation between US and Pakistani intelligence officials instead of dampening relations.
In Abbottabad, a garrison town in northwest Pakistan where the May 2 raid by US Navy SEALs killed the leader of the al-Qaida terror network, about 300 members of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif`s party rallied Thursday in the main bazaar, denouncing both the American government for approving the raid and Pakistani leaders.
In the aftermath of the raid on bin Laden`s compound, Pakistan`s ruling party has defended the country`s powerful army, allowing it to investigate its own intelligence fiasco in the case.
Sharif, the main opposition leader and former premier, on Wednesday called for the judiciary — not the army — to investigate the events surrounding bin Laden`s death, but it`s unclear if his proposal will gain any traction.
The demonstrators in Abbottabad, mostly from Sharif`s Muslim League-N party, chanted: "Go, America, go!" The crowd carried a banner that read "American terrorism is not acceptable," and shouted slogans of appreciation for bin Laden.
Murtaza Javed Abbasi, an activist, demanded accountability from Pakistan officials who claim they did not know that bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad.
"Why aren`t they able to protect our sovereignty?" he asked. "The army chief should reply to this and those who are responsible should be hung."
Separately on Thursday, US missiles killed at least five alleged militants in a tribal region along the Afghan border — the third such drone attack since the US killing of bin Laden, Pakistani intelligence officials said.
The strike is evidence that the US is not letting up on cross-border drone strikes into Pakistan despite Pakistani officials` complaints that the United States violated its sovereignty by killing bin Laden on their soil. Even before bin Laden`s death, the drone attacks were a source of increasing tension in the now severely strained US-Pakistan relationship.
Two Pakistani intelligence officials said the drone-fired missiles hit a vehicle in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan, an al-Qaida and Taliban stronghold that has been subject to frequent missile attacks. Militants often use the area to cross into Afghanistan, where many are involved in fighting US, NATO and Afghan forces.
The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The identities of those killed in the missile strike have not been confirmed.