Pak sets up top panel to probe Osama raid

Islamabad: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday formed a commission headed by a Supreme Court judge to investigate the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a covert US military operation in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad.

The five-member commission constituted to investigate the "Abbottabad incident" will be headed by Justice Javed Iqbal of the apex court, said a brief statement from the premier`s office.

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 New Delhi.

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

A resolution adopted by a joint session of both houses of parliament, which had been convened on May 13 to discuss the US raid against bin Laden, 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 Pakistani military, particularly the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), 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 Pakistan Military Academy.

In a daring pre-dawn raid, a US Navy SEAL 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 May 2 raid were able to evade radars.