South Asia

Pakistan condemns Bin Laden raid and US drone attacks

People protest outside parliament in Islamabad, Pakistan (13 May 2011)
US drone attacks in Pakistan have led to increasing public anger

Pakistan's parliament has called for a review of the country's relationship with the US over the American commando raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

MPs said they "condemned the unilateral action... which constitutes a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty".

They unanimously passed a resolution urging a ban on Nato transit convoys unless the US ended drone attacks.

The session followed Friday's double suicide bombing that killed 80 people in north-western Pakistan.

At least 120 others were wounded in the attack on a Frontier Constabulary training centre in Shabqadar, Charsadda district.

The Pakistani Taliban said they carried out the attack - this year's deadliest on the security forces - to avenge Bin Laden's death.

Heightened security

The 2 May US raid on the al-Qaeda leader's Abbottabad hideout has left Washington-Islamabad relations at an all-time low, correspondents say.

Members of the US Congress have been calling for Washington to cut its billions of dollars in aid to Islamabad, saying some Pakistani officials must have known Bin Laden was hiding in the country.

On Saturday, the parliament in Islamabad said the American operation was a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty.

The MPs' resolution was passed after a joint session, under heightened security, lasting more than 10 hours.

"The people of Pakistan will no longer tolerate such actions and a repeat of unilateral measures could have dire consequences for peace and security in the region and the world," the AFP news agency quoted the resolution as saying.

An investigation should take place to "fix responsibility and recommend necessary measures to ensure that such an incident does not recur", it added.

The resolution also labelled as "unacceptable" the US use of pilotless planes to attack militants along the mountainous border with Afghanistan.

It said if the attacks did not stop, the government should consider halting the transit of supplies through its territory for Nato forces in Afghanistan.

More than 100 drone strikes are estimated to have been carried out last year.

Correspondents say Islamabad has tacitly approved of such US air strikes, although Pakistani leaders have always denied supporting them.

In recent months senior Pakistani security officials have reportedly been pressing for a limit to such operations, in the face of public anger over civilian casualties.

Photograph lawsuit

US Senator John Kerry, who is on a visit to Afghanistan before heading to Pakistan, told the BBC there were "serious questions that need to be answered" in the US-Pakistan relationship.

Pakistan condemns Bin Laden raid

Mr Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in the Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif: "We're not trying to find a way to break the relationship apart, we're trying to find a way to build it."

However the Democrat senator, who is close to the Obama administration, said that if the US came to believe Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar was in Pakistan, the US would "always reserve all of its options to be able to protect our people".

During the parliamentary session, Pakistan's army chiefs appeared before MPs to explain their actions over Bin Laden's death.

Lt Gen Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, head of Pakistan's security services, is reported to have told MPs that he had offered to quit after the US Navy Seals raid, but had been turned down by the army chief.

Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said Lt Gen Pasha had told MPs he was ready to take responsibility for any criminal failing.

Pakistani leaders have insisted they had no idea Bin Laden was holed up in the country.

Separately in the US, Judicial Watch, a conservative lobby group, has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the defence department, calling for the publication of the photographs of Bin Laden's body.

Its president, Tom Fitton, said the "American people have a right to know, by law, basic information about the killing".

President Barack Obama has said publication of the "gruesome" photos could incite violence and threaten US national security.