Pakistan, US must reset relations: ex-envoy
Pakistan needs to reset relations with the United States after the killing of Osama bin Laden, but claims of complicity go too far, the country's former ambassador to Washington and London said Monday.
Maleeha Lodhi, who was Pakistan's envoy to the United States at the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks, called for an urgent inquiry into how bin Laden came to be living in the hillside garrison town of Abbottabad.
But speaking at the launch in London of "Pakistan: Beyond the 'Crisis State'", a book on the country's future, she said: "There's been too quick a rush to judgment -- the suggestion of complicity I think goes much too far.
"My own judgement is that there is nobody amongst the Pakistani government who could possibly have known, but this does show a huge intelligence failure, of not being able to detect where Bin Laden was living for such a long period."
Lodhi said Pakistan had already acknowledged shortcomings, especially for not following up leads it had given to the United States, and she said she hoped an inquiry in her country would "provide us with some answers."
But the former envoy warned that Pakistan and its military and financial backer the United States had to rebuild their alliance, which is at its lowest ebb for years.
"I think the relationship will need to be mended, because clearly, as we've heard from both the Pakistani and the American authorities, Pakistan was not taken into confidence and this clandestine raid occurred without telling anybody in Pakistan," she said.
"That obviously raises very serious questions about the trust deficit between the two countries," added Lodhi, who served in Washington from 1993-96 and 1999-2002, and in London from 2003-2008.
Her comments came just before Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani dismissed as "absurd" the accusations that bin Laden must have benefited from either official complicity or incompetence.
He promised an investigation but said he had full confidence in the military and Pakistan's feared Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency.
© 2011 AFP