Islamabad, Aug 21: The American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May left a “very deep imprint” on Pakistan and its armed forces, which had never considered the US a “direct threat,” Defence Secretary Syed Athar Ali has said.
Ali, a retired lieutenant general, made the remarks while deposing before the inquiry commission probing the May 2 US raid and bin Laden's presence in the country.
He said no government department, including the Defence Ministry, the Joint Staff Headquarters or any military service “has ever considered the US or Afghanistan a direct threat.”
The raid against bin Laden had left a “very deep imprint on the entire Pakistani nation in general and the armed forces in particular,” Ali said.
The Pakistani armed forces “are now better prepared to respond to any” recurrence of the incident and adequate safeguards have been put in place, he said.
The defence forces have instituted “certain measures to preclude the possibility of such a recurrence in future,” he said.
The commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge Javed Iqbal, has been asked by the government to ascertain how the al-Qaeda leader managed to live in Pakistan for several years, investigate the US operation that killed him, determine the nature and causes of lapses by authorities and make suitable recommendations. PTI