Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said the claim that al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden had been hiding in the Abbottabad compound for the past six years "is not authentic”.
The Saudi-born terrorist, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed in a top secret operation involving a small team of US Special Forces in Abbottabad, located 50 kilometres northeast of Islamabad and 150 kilometres east of Peshawar.
Bin Laden`s discovery less than a three hours` drive away from Gilani`s office has amplified allegations of either complicity or ignorance on the part of Pakistan`s much-vaunted intelligence agencies.
But Gilani is not buying it, and he said that he was not even sure that bin Laden had been hiding in the Abbottabad compound for the past six years.
The claim "is not authentic”, TIME quoted Gilani as saying in an exclusive interview.
“Terrorists don`t normally stay in one place for more than 15 days,” he added.
Gilani accepted that there was an "intelligence failure”, but insisted that it was not only Pakistan`s.
"He was not confined to Pakistan alone, he was everywhere," the Prime Minister said, adding that bin Laden was not his responsibility.
Gilani said of his US allies: "If they are concerned about bin Laden, they should be."
"That`s their issue. Bin Laden is not my citizen. When my citizens are being martyred, I`m responsible for that," he added.
Gilani said, that just this past Tuesday, he received a cable from Pakistan`s embassy in Syria reporting that the sister of bin Laden`s fifth wife, a Yemeni national, was in Damascus and had made contact with Pakistani diplomats there, the report said.
According to the cable, the sister-in-law claimed that bin Laden had married Amal Ahmed al-Sadah in Yemen in 2002.
"That was after 9/11. And they say that they`ve got the proof," said Gilani
If the information in the cable is correct, he continued, that would put bin Laden in Yemen in 2002.