Delhi: Was the Pakistani establishment really unaware of Osama bin Laden's presence on their soil as they have repeatedly proclaimed is a question that has intrigued many.
Now, former defence minister of Pakistan has revealed that the Pakistani Army and the ISI had prior knowledge of Osama living on their soil.
As per a report by CNN-IBN, Chaudhary Ahmed Mukthar, who was the defence minister of Pakistan between 2008 and 2012 and was part of the top five ministers in the then PM Yousaf Raza Gilani's government, replied in the affirmative when asked if President Zardari, General Kayani, the then Army Chief had prior information about Osama.
Chaudhary, a long time member of the Pakistan People's Party, added that some personnel in the Pakistan Army as well as people in the other forces were on the lookout for somebody of the stature of Osama.
However, after Osama's killing, Rehman Malik, the then interior minister had on May 10, 2011 denied any role or any assistance from any Pakistani official or establishment and had said that the world's most wanted could not be identified because of the way he had hid himself.
Osama, who was staying in a fortified compound in Abbottabad, a small military town less than a 100 kilometres from Pakistan's capital Islamabad, was killed in an operation on the intervening night of May 01 and 02 by the commandos of US Navy Seals Team 6.
They had flown in from Afghanistan on two Black Hawks and the whole operation lasted a little over three hours.
Later US President Barack Obama broke the story to the world in a late night press conference and confirmed that the leader of al Qaeda had been killed in an operation carried out by them.