Pakistan `involved or incompetent`: CIA chief

CIA chief says Pak was either "involved or incompetent" in la`affaire Osama.

Last Updated: May 05, 2011, 00:44 AM IST

Washington/New Delhi: Two days after Osama bin Laden`s dramatic killing, the US Wednesday described its ties with Islamabad as "complicated" with the CIA chief saying that Pakistan was either "involved or incompetent" in la`affaire Osama.

In a stinging attack, CIA director Leon Panetta told US lawmakers that Washington was trying to get to the bottom of Pakistan`s "troubling" role in their professed ignorance about the whereabouts of the al Qaeda chief.

In a closed door briefing for House members Tuesday, Panetta said that "either they were involved or incompetent. Neither place is a good place to be", a news channel reported.

Senators were unrelenting in their attack on Pakistan, a country whose leaders have repeatedly claimed that Osama, the world`s most wanted terror leader, was either dead or hiding in Afghanistan.

"It had everything except a neon sign sticking out there," Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg told to a news channel, referring to spacious and high-walled mansion in Pakistan`s Abbottabad city where US special forces shot dead Osama after a 40-minute gun battle Sunday night.

Republican Allen West echoed the angry mood in the Congress.

"There is no way people in the ISI (Pakistan`s intelligence agency) and military did not know that Osama has been living there for quite some time," said West, who has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

In his detailed briefing on how Osama was trapped and killed, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney spoke approvingly of Pakistan`s cooperation on the war on terror but admitted that US-Pakistani ties were "complicated".

"Pakistan is a partner - a key partner - in the fight against Al Qaeda and terrorism," he said. "It`s a complicated relationship. There`s no question. And we do have our differences."

In India, US envoy Timothy J. Roemer kept up the pressure.

"We are certainly going to see Capitol Hill take a very hard look at the assistance that we give (to Pakistan)," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi.

Underlining that Pakistan needed to do more against terrorists, Roemer said it had to be seen whether Islamabad was using the funds given by the US in a "proper way".

"Congress is going to engage in I think two very fundamentally important tasks in the weeks ahead. One will be as we share or sell certain military equipment to Pakistan, is that being used in the proper way to take on counter terrorism efforts."

While conceding that Pakistan had taken on al Qaeda, he said it wasn`t, however, doing enough against terrorists ranged against India.

"Are they doing enough on Lashkar-e-Taiba? Are they doing enough on Mumbai trials? Are they doing enough on Hafiz Saeed and (Zakiur Rehman) Lakhvi? No, they need to do more."

He said Pakistan should also show results on trying the masterminds of the Mumbai massacre of November 2008.

"They need to show progress and results on the Mumbai trials. That Mumbai attack on 26/11 killed scores of Indians, six Americans, and the US wants to see progress and results and justice."

Roemer said Osama`s discovery in Pakistan would also be taken up.

"The second part of this will be in respect to bin Laden being discovered outside of Islamabad.

"Congress will ask tough questions and go to the bottom. How do we more effectively use that aid, I am sure Pakistan is helping us not only degrade Al Qaeda, but go after groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba," he said.

In Pakistan, there were more voices of disbelief that American`s enemy number 1 was holed up near a Pakistani military academy in Abbottabad even as Islamabad claimed to be chasing the Al Qaeda leadership.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain demanded an apology from the Pakistani government and intelligence agencies for their lapse on allowing Osama to hide deep inside Pakistan.

Dawn newspaper echoed the national despair: "Right under our military`s nose was found Osama ... living in relative comfort in a compound with stringent security that somehow went unnoticed.

"Add to this the way he was killed, and embarrassment turns into deep shame."

A Canadian newspaper meanwhile reported that the Pakistan-backed Hizbul Mujahideen, which seeks to end Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir, owned the Abbottabad mansion where Osama was killed.

It added the HM, as the group is widely known, had the backing of the Pakistani military.

The report added that Hizbul`s links to Al Qaeda would "deepen Pakistan`s embarrassment" over Osama`s death.

IANS