Pakistan's Prime Minister Complains of a Bin Laden 'Blame Game'

Multiple stories this morning make us glad not to be diplomats

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A day after President Obama told 60 Minutes Osama bin Laden must have had a "support network" inside Pakistan that the U.S. and Pakistan need to investigate, Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani (pictured above) spoke to parliament for the first time about bin Laden's death, announcing a military probe into how bin Laden lived undetected for so long. He also, however, denounced the "blame game," calling charges that Pakistani authorities were complicit in hiding bin Laden or merely incompetent "absurd"; bin Laden's decade-long evasion of authorities, he said, represented a failure of "all the intelligence agencies of the world." He called the U.S. raid a "violation of sovereignty" and warned that Pakistan would retaliate against future unilateral strikes with "full force," while also emphasizing the important of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. You can watch Gilani's address here.

The address comes amidst a flurry of news reports this morning about mounting tensions both within Pakistan and between Pakistan and the U.S. As Reuters points out, Pakistan's main opposition party--the Pakistan Muslim League--is demanding that Gilani and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari resign in response to America's violation of Pakistan's sovereignty. Meanwhile, Thomas Donilon, President Obama's national security adviser, called on Sunday for Pakistan to allow American investigators to interview bin Laden's three widows, who "might have information about the comings and goings of people who were aiding him," The New York Times points out. The Guardian notes a further sign of souring relations: Several Pakistani news outlets published the alleged name of a CIA station chief in Islamabad today, though the name appears to be inaccurate. The Guardian adds that a former member of the Pakistan-based extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba is expected to inform a Chicago court next week that Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, was complicit in the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.

The Wall Street Journal provides further insight into strained U.S.-Pakistani relations this morning through a detailed account of how exactly Pakistani officials learned of the bin Laden raid. When President Obama called Zardari at 2 a.m. in Pakistan, the Pakistani president, after a moment of stunned silence, reportedly replied, "Congratulations, Mr. President." But Pakistan's powerful military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, appears to have been less cordial. Kayani, who learned of a helicopter crash around 1 a.m., first heard about the U.S. raid from Pakistan's intelligence chief, who'd received a call from CIA Director Leon Panetta after Obama reached out to Zardari. When Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs, finally called Kayani around 5 a.m., the Pakistani general congratulated his U.S. counterpart on "the good news" but informed Mullen that "such actions were not acceptable." A week later, that talking point made its way into Gilani's address to parliament.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.