Osama bin Laden — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:12 pm on 3rd May 2011.

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Photo of Baroness Falkner of Margravine Baroness Falkner of Margravine Liberal Democrat 4:12 pm, 3rd May 2011

My Lords, from these Benches I join the Leader of the Opposition in congratulating President Obama and US special forces on closing the chapter that started on 11 September 2001. That chapter shook the Muslim world to its very core, as well as obviously affecting the United States and other countries. We need to recall that Pakistan is an extremely fragile state. As its friend, we may not wish to question its commitment to countering terrorism but we must be clear about its capability to do so. In that context, I am extremely pleased to hear in the Statement that we will resist siren calls in the media today about maintaining our aid, practical assistance, intelligence co-operation and so on. I hope the Government will continue to be steadfast in that aim.

We must not allow friendship to withhold candid conversations about the role of the ISI and defence intelligence. My father was a member of that community so I well know that it would have been pretty impossible for Mr bin Laden to live there undetected for as long as he did. We must also work to improve relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Peace in Afghanistan will not come if al-Qaeda or the Taliban are simply displaced to Pakistan. I hope that our Government will continue their efforts to bring the two countries into a constructive working relationship. Can my noble friend tell me if we are also working towards a resumption of dialogue between Pakistan and India? All three countries are essential if regional peace and security is to be secured in that most dangerous region.