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Pakistani Islamic Party Leader 'Suspicious' Of Bin Laden Killing

Sheikh ul-Hadith Amanullah
Sheikh ul-Hadith Amanullah
PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- A pro-Taliban Islamic party leader in Pakistan says he has "suspicions" about the killing of Osama bin Laden and finds it "unbelievable" that U.S. forces could conduct such a mission against the Al-Qaeda leader without the Pakistani government's knowledge, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

Sheikh ul-Hadith Amanullah, chief of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province branch of Jamiat Ulema-e Islam Fazal (JUI-F), told RFE/RL on May 9 that the report of bin Laden's killing in Abbottabad on May 2 was a "big conspiracy."

The JUI-F said it would hold a protest on May 13 against the killing of bin Laden. A similar demonstration was held by another Islamic fundamentalist party, Jamat-e Islami, on May 6 but only drew some 400 protesters.

Sheikh Amanullah told RFE/RL the rally was to protest "incorrect actions. We ask [the Pakistani government] to tell us the facts [about the operation against bin Laden] and then we will not hold any more protests for Osama."

He said that "we can't believe how [U.S. forces] could go there [to Abbottabad], how they could conduct such an operation, and how Pakistan could not know about this. It is something unbelievable."

Amanullah said that "[bin Laden's] presence in Pakistan could prove to be very detrimental for Pakistan. Usually [bin Laden] stayed outside of [Pakistan]. And even if he was in Pakistan, how can the [Pakistani government] admit that he was living here? A confession that he was in Abbottabad for this or that many years would open the possibility of the United States punishing Pakistan."

He said he was demanding answers from the Pakistani government. "We don't expect an explanation from the United States."

"We ask the army: 'If the prime minister or the president can't tell us the facts [about what happened] because of political compromises, then the army should do the job and tell the country why there was this negligence on the part of the army,'" Amanullah said. "Who forced them to close their eyes? [The army] should tell the country everything [regarding this situation]."

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani briefed parliament today in his first statement to Pakistanis since bin Laden was killed by U.S. commandos in his compound in Abbottabad, an action that has embarrassed the government.

Gilani said it was disingenuous for anyone to accuse Pakistan of "being in cahoots" with Al-Qaeda, and that Pakistan had full confidence in its military and intelligence services.