Pakistani threat to cut US supply lines over bin Laden raid

PAKISTAN has condemned the American raid to find and kill Osama bin Laden, calling for a total review of its relationship with the United States and warning that it could cut supply lines to US forces in Afghanistan if there were more such attacks.

Pakistan's intelligence chief said he was ready to resign over the bin Laden affair, which has embarrassed the country and led to suspicion that Pakistani security agents knew where the al-Qaeda chief was holed up.

On Friday, two suicide bombers attacked a military academy in the north-western town of Shabqadar, Charsadda district, killing 80 people in what Pakistani Taleban militants said was their first act of revenge for bin Laden's death on 2 May.

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The secret US raid on bin Laden's lair in the garrison town of Abbottabad, 30 miles north of Islamabad, has strained already prickly ties with the US.

Pakistan also criticised the American drone missile strikes in the country's militant-riddled tribal areas, and said the government should consider preventing US and Nato supply trucks from using land routes in Pakistan if the strikes continue. Many analysts have long suspected that Pakistan secretly allows the drone attacks while publicly denouncing them.

In a parliamentary resolution, Pakistani politicians also called for an independent body to look into the bin Laden raid. Last week, Pakistani prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the military would lead the inquiry, but that upset opposition leaders.

Pakistan has dismissed as absurd any suggestion that authorities knew bin Laden was hiding in a high-walled compound close to the country's top military academy.

Although the US government has not accused Pakistan of complicity in concealing bin Laden, it has said he must have had some sort of support network, which it wants to uncover.

US Democratic Party politician John Kerry, on a visit to Afghanistan yesterday, said the US wanted Pakistan to be a "real" ally in combating militants but serious questions remained in their relations.

"But we're not trying to find a way to break the relationship apart, we're trying to find a way to build it," said Kerry, a senior party figure close to the Obama administration and chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee.

Kerry is due to visit Pakistan in the coming days. Members of its two houses of parliament said the government should review ties with the US to safeguard Pakistan's national interests and they also called for an end to US attacks on militants with its pilotless drone aircraft.Pakistani MPs also called for an independent commission to fully investigate the bin Laden raid.

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Bin Laden was like a "dead person despite being alive", federal information minister Firdous Ashiq Awan quoted the intelligence chief as saying.

When asked why the CIA had been able to track bin Laden, the spy chief said the US agency had managed to acquire more human sources in Pakistan than the Pakistani agencies because it paid informants far better, according to a politician who attended the session.

The legislators said US "unilateral actions" such as the Abbottabad raid and drone strikes were unacceptable, and the government should consider cutting vital US lines of supply for its forces in Afghanistan unless they stopped.

Earlier, a US drone fired missiles at a vehicle in North Waziristan on the Afghan border, killing five militants. It was the fourth drone attack since bin Laden was killed.

Police in Charsadda said they had recovered for analysis body parts of the two suicide bombers who struck at a paramilitary force academy.

A Taleban spokesman said on Friday the attack was in revenge for bin Laden's death and vowed there would be more. Pakistani intelligence chief Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, head of the military's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, told parliament in a closed-door briefing he was "ready to resign" over the bin Laden affair, a parliamentarian said.

Pasha, who was asked tough questions by members of parliament, told the assembly he did not want to "hang around" if parliament deemed him responsible.

Opposition leader and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said civilian leaders, not the security agencies, should be deciding policy towards India, the US and Afghanistan.

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"The elected government should formulate foreign policy. A parallel policy or parallel government should not be allowed to work," Sharif said.

Meanwhile, a Central Asian security body suggested the killing of the al-Qaeda leader could trigger a backlash from his supporters across a massive area surrounding Afghanistan.

The Shangahi Co-operation Organisation, dominated by China and Russia, unites the mostly Muslim ex-Soviet Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

"Craving for revenge, the supporters of al-Qaeda, the Taleban movement and other terrorist and extremist organisations may cause a new wave of terror," said the Kazakh foreign minister, Yerzgan Kazykhanov.