Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pakistan parliament calls for Islamabad to review its relationship with Washington

Having heard the explanations of the secret service ISI, the Pakistani Parliament condemned on Saturday the operation carried out by U.S. troops in Abbottabad to kill Osama bin Laden. The two chambers this morning issued a tough resolution after a marathon session behind closed doors, where they received explanations of the intelligence chief, Ahmed Shuja Pasha, and the dome of the Army.

In the text, the Parliament called on the Executive, headed by the pro-Western People's Party (PPP) Bhutto family, to "revise" its political relationship with the U.S. in order to "ensure that the national interests of Pakistan are fully respected." The Legislature also requests the Government to appoint an independent commission to look responsibilities and recommend actions that will prevent an incident similar.

This is the only reference close to self-criticism in the parliamentary resolution condemning the "unilateral" U.S. operation and considers it a "violation of the sovereignty of Pakistan." The head of Al Qaeda was extra-judicially executed by U.S. special forces in a secret operation on his farm in Abbottabad, near Islamabad.

In line with some of the theses of the Army, parliamentarians recalled the "huge sacrifices" made by the country to combat terrorism, but made no mention of the presence of al Qaeda in its territory. The resolution now calls for an immediate cessation of attacks by U.S. drones in Pakistan's tribal regions.

And the Government proposes that, if unchecked, to consider measures such as not allowing the transit of supplies for NATO forces deployed in Afghanistan. Both the Army and the ISI are the target of criticism for not realizing the violation of its airspace by U.S. helicopters and for not having detected the presence of Bin Laden in a mansion to three hours drive from Islamabad.

The ruling PPP is prudent military power, but the main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N, has raised its voice to demand an independent judicial inquiry rather than one led by the military. "Only the elected governments can formulate foreign policy, claimed on Saturday the leader of the League-N, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, suggesting that it is the army that controls Pakistan's diplomacy.

"The armed forces should not engage in politics," he added.

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