Amid a diplomatic row between Pakistan and the U.S. over the secret operation that killed al— Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said Washington should not have violated his country’s sovereignty to carry out the raid in Abbottabad.

“There was no need to (take) a shortcut or to bypass Pakistan,” Mr. Gilani told reporters who accompanied him on an official visit to France.

In view of the long—standing relations with the U.S., Pakistan’s sovereignty should not have been violated, he said.

Reacting to Monday’s operation by U.S. special forces inside Pakistani territory, Mr. Gilani said the issue of violation of sovereignty was a matter of concern for the country, particularly in view of the cooperation with the U.S. in intelligence and defence.

He said relations with the U.S. had seen many ups and downs in the past, including the incident of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who was arrested after he killed two men in Lahore, and the killing of bin Laden.

He added that it would take “some time” for bilateral relations to fully normalize.

Bin Laden was killed along with his son, two al—Qaeda couriers and a woman during the pre—dawn raid by U.S. forces on a compound located a short distance from the Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad, 120 kms from the federal capital Islamabad.

Mr. Gilani had earlier sought to deflect criticism of his government’s failure to detect bin Laden by describing it as an “intelligence failure of the whole world“.

During the interaction with reporters who accompanied him to France, Mr. Gilani said U.S. President Barack Obama had acknowledged Pakistan’s contribution in the war on terrorism and ongoing intelligence-sharing between the two countries.

Mr. Gilani said his visit to France had provided him an opportunity to present Pakistan’s point of view and to inform the French leadership about many things.

“There were many misunderstandings and I hope these have been removed,” he said.

Asked about the difference of opinion in various quarters of the government regarding the U.S. military operation against bin Laden, Mr. Gilani said he would make a policy statement during in the Senate or upper house of parliament.

Keywords: Osama bin Laden

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