LONDON – Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani denied his country had been "complicit" in providing Usama bin Laden a haven in the face of a global manhunt for the late Al Qaeda leader.
Instead, it was an "intelligence failure" that allowed the terror chief to remain undetected in Pakistan before he was eventually killed in the garrison town of Abbottabad by US special forces last May, Gilani said on a UK visit.
"There is no complicity. I think it's an intelligence failure from all over the world," the prime minister told The Guardian.
Contrary to reports, Pakistan's military had not been aware of bin Laden's presence in the country and had no reason to protect him in any case, Gilani said.
"Why should we do that? We have suffered the most ... Pakistan has paid a huge price. Some 35,000 people have been martyred. Five thousand police and soldiers have been killed," he said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said earlier in the week that bin Laden's successor, Ayman al Zawahiri, was likely to still be hiding in Pakistan -- a claim Gilani said he knew nothing of.
"If there is any credible information please share it with us, so we can be quick and achieve our targets ... I don't know. Please tell us," Gilani said, echoing a sentiment expressed by his foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, who said Monday that Islamabad had "no information about the presence of al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri in Pakistan."
Gilani, who is on a five-day trip in London, will meet British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday.