'Bin Laden scenario prelude to new war'
Slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden
Former officials with Pakistan's military and intelligence service say the US wrongfully claims it has killed bin Laden in Pakistan to invade the country for harboring the terror leader.
United States President Barack Obama announced late Sunday that the al-Qaeda leader had been killed in a US military attack on a residence in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad north of the capital, Islamabad.
US reports claim that bin Laden had been living in a house near a Pakistani military base since 2005.
Speaking to the international Urdu daily Ausaf, the former officials said the terror mastermind had been killed elsewhere, questioning the reason for which the media had not broadcast the whereabouts and the manner of his death.
Citing the interviewees, who included General Mirza Aslam Beig, a former chief of Army staff, the newspaper said, “It is a fact that Osama bin Laden has been killed, but he has not been killed in Pakistan and this is evident in interviews with the locals and eyewitnesses.”
They cited remarks by Haidar Ali -- one Abbottabad local, who owns a house near the alleged bin Laden residence and had closely witnessed the US operation.
They quoted Ali as saying, “If Osama bin Laden was in the house, us and neighbors would surely be notified of his presence. The house belongs to a Pakistani of Pashtun decent and has been built in 2005 and was resided by a number of his family members.”
The interviewees also asked whether it was possible that the operation has not even claimed the life of one American trooper given the al-Qaeda militants' “special skills and commando training.”
They added that it was not possible that bin Laden had been living close to a military base as well as Pakistan's garrison city of Rawalpindi for five years without the country's military and intelligence apparatus being informed.
“Bin Laden has been killed somewhere else, but since the US intends to extend the Afghan war into Pakistan and accuse Pakistan and obtain a permit for its military's entry into the country, it has devised the scenario (about his death).”
Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto said in a 2007 interview following a failed assassination attempt on her, that bin Laden has been “murdered” years ago.