Munter not summoned by Pak to protest Osama raid: US
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Last Updated: Thursday, May 12, 2011, 22:30
Islamabad: The US Thursday dismissed as "completely false" media reports that its envoy was summoned by Pakistan's Foreign Office to protest last week's military raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

"The reports about Ambassador Cameron Munter being summoned by the Foreign Office are completely false," US Embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez said.

Munter had a "regular meeting" with Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, who is his "main interlocutor" in Pakistan, Rodriguez said.

TV news channels had quoted sources as saying that Munter had been summoned by the Foreign Office over the May 2 raid in which the al-Qaida chief was killed by US special forces in a compound in Abbottabad, a garrison city 120 km from Islamabad.

The reports claimed Pakistan had lodged a protest against the operation, describing it as an attack on the country's security and sovereignty.

The reports quoted Munter as purportedly regretting the violation of Pakistan's airspace.

Diplomatic sources said the US envoy had not offered any apology for the raid, as had been reported by the TV news channels.

The sources said efforts were being made to ratchet up the pressure on the US in the wake of awkward and embarrassing questions raised by the killing of bin Laden in a compound located a stone's throw from the Pakistan Military Academy and in a city that is home to thousands of soldiers.

Since the killing of bin Laden, a TV news channel and a right-wing newspaper made public the purported name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad, who had played a key role in the operation against the Al Qaida chief.

US and Pakistani officials said the name given in media reports was incorrect but diplomatic sources said it was very close to the actual name of the US operative.

This was the second incident of its nature in less than six months. In December last year, the CIA was forced to withdraw its station chief in Islamabad after he was named in media reports and a lawsuit filed by a tribesman against US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal belt.

A section of the Urdu press today misreported Ambassador Munter's comments during an interaction with students at the University of Sindh, in which he had remarked that some names were

Some media outlets mischaracterised Munter's statements to imply that individuals with certain names are not eligible for US visas, and the charge was denied by the US Embassy*.

"It's very obvious that certain elements are bringing up these issues to divert focus from the bin Laden episode," a diplomatic source said.


First Published: Thursday, May 12, 2011, 22:30

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