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Pak constitutes commission to probe Osamas killing

Islamabad: Pakistan has formed a commission to probe the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a covert US raid in Abbottabad and to determine the nature and causes of lapses that have embarrassed the government.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani constituted the five-member commission headed by Supreme Court Justice Javed Iqbal to investigate the "Abbottabad incident", said a statement yesterday from the premier`s office.

The commission will "ascertain the full facts regarding the presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan" and "investigate circumstances and facts regarding the US operation in Abbottabad on May 2", the statement said.

The commission will also "determine the nature, background and causes of lapses of the concerned authorities, if any" and make "consequential recommendations".

The other members of the commission are former Supreme Court judge Fakhruddin G Ibrahim, Lt Gen (retired) Nadeem Ahmed, former police official Abbas Khan and former career diplomat Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, who once served as the High Commissioner in Delhi.

The Cabinet Secretary will work as the secretary of the commission.

A joint session of parliament, held on May 13, had recommended the setting up of a commission to investigate the circumstances that led to the embarrassing development of bin Laden being found and killed on Pakistani soil.

The resolution adopted during the joint session had demanded that the government should appoint "an independent commission on the Abbottabad operation, fix responsibility and recommend necessary measures to ensure that such an incident does not recur".

The military, particularly the Inter-Services Intelligence, had come in for strong criticism from politicians and the media for its failure to detect bin Laden`s presence in Abbottabad, where the al Qaeda leader was living hundreds of metres away from the elite Pakistan Military Academy.

In a daring pre-dawn raid, a US Navy SEALs team swooped on bin Laden`s compound and killed him on May 2.

The Pakistani army and air force are conducting separate probes to ascertain how bin Laden had lived undetected in Abbottabad for several years and how US helicopters that participated in the raid were able to evade radars.

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