‘Condoleezza Rice informed Pakistan about OBL presence even before CIA operation’

Gilani says it was an intelligence failure of the whole world not our failure alone that Osama reached Pakistan

Ex-Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani (L) speaks in an interview with Geo News correspondent Azad Syed in Multan on February 1, 2024. — YouTube/Talk Shock
  • Yusuf Gilani says if US had any evidence they should have given.
  • We would have helped US against OBL, he says.
  • He says he has a lot of respect for Gen Kayani, Gen Pasha.

MULTAN: Veteran Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader from south Punjab and former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has said former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice had informed Pakistan about the presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan way before the CIA operation in Abbottabad. 

In an interview with the Geo News programme Talk Shock, Gilani said during her visit to Pakistan Rice shared the apprehension that Osama was in Pakistan. To which, the then PM had negated saying that it was disinformation.

Rice visited Pakistan four times as a US secretary. During her surprise visit to Islamabad after the Mumbai attacks, she met the PPP leader in the first week of December 2008. Gilani served as the PM from 2008 to 2012.

On whether it was a shock when OBL was found in Abbottabad, Gilani said that it was an intelligence failure of the whole world, not our failure alone that Osama reached Pakistan. To a query, if he thought it was American intelligence that was conveyed to him via Rice, Gilani said: “If they had any evidence they should have given it to us. We would have helped them because we were against terrorism and we were fighting a war against terrorism and lost many precious lives of military men and civilians who were martyred and we also lost billions of dollars.”

Gilani was asked about his speech in the National Assembly, questioning OBL’s presence in Pakistan. He answered that Pakistan’s motive was to stop the international media because OBL was not a Pakistani citizen and came from abroad. Was he given a complete picture by the ISI regarding OBL or was the entire story not shared with him? To this, Gilani responded that he “used to get briefings and they were very clear”.

He said that during the war on terror ISI and the CIA cooperated closely and all the high-value targets were achieved with the help of the CIA and ISI: “We had achieved other targets, we would also have achieved this one [OBL].” During the interview, Gilani also shared that he has had a close relationship with former COAS Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and former ISI chief Ahmad Shuja Pasha.

Gilani told this correspondent that he would be given intelligence briefings on a regular basis. 

When asked about the status of civil-military relations during his tenure, he declared them exemplary. When his attention was drawn to the fact that he had differences with the then military establishment during the Memogate case following the Abbottabad operation, he said that there was only one time when they had a difference of opinion and that was on the implementation of NRO verdict of the Supreme Court. He also shared that when his son was abducted by militants, everyone helped him. Yusuf Raza Gilani also shared that he has a lot of respect for General Kayani and General Pasha and has no regrets about them.

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