ISI chief quizzed over Osama`s presence in Pak

A serving ISI chief appearing before a civilian panel is a rare occurrence in Pakistan.

Islamabad: The inquiry commission set up by the Pakistan government for probing the Osama bin Laden debacle has interviewed the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief and family members of the slain al Qaeda founder, according to an official statement.

A serving ISI chief appearing before a civilian panel is a rare occurrence in Pakistan.

Members of the Abbottabad Commission also conducted “exhaustive interviews” of the three widows and two daughters of bin Laden, the Dawn quoted the official statement, as saying.

Pakistan took custody of the widows- two Saudis and one Yemeni- and ten children of bin Laden after US Navy SEALs killed him at his hideout in Abbottabad and flew off with his body on May 2.

Senior ISI officials, including Director General Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, told the commission that they knew nothing about the presence of bin Laden in a three-storey compound in Abbottabad near the premises of Pakistan Military Academy, the paper said, attributing to sources.

The ISI chief said the Army did not have advance information about the US operation.

“The Abbottabad operation was not known to any tier in the Pakistan Army,” he was quoted as saying.

The Abbottabad cantonment only had training institutions and no combat troops were deployed there, the ISI official added.

Dr Shakil Afridi, a doctor accused of conducting a US-sponsored fake vaccination campaign before the US raid, in an attempt to get DNA samples of bin Laden`s family, was also interrogated, said the statement.

The Abbottabad Commission is expected to interview the ISI chief again on Thursday, the paper said.

The terms of reference of the commission are to ascertain the facts surrounding bin Laden’s undetected presence in Pakistan for almost five years, the circumstances and facts of the US operation, to investigate any security lapses that may have occurred on May 2 and lastly, to make consequential recommendations based on its findings.


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