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 Lord Maples Lord Maples Conservative 4:12 pm, 3rd May 2011

My Lords, I agree with my noble friend that our aid programme and friendly relationship with Pakistan must continue. However, these events will alter that relationship and that of the United States with Pakistan, which is perhaps more important. First, I suspect there will be turmoil in Pakistan over what has happened and the death of Osama bin Laden, which may well lead to the fall of the Government.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly from an American or British point of view, my noble friend said that we will get to the bottom of what happened. However, it seems inconceivable that, without at least the tacit approval of some elements of the Pakistani state, Osama bin Laden could have survived for so long, living in the way that he did in a town less than 100 miles from Islamabad. When we get to the bottom of that, it will almost certainly confirm what many of us have suspected for ages-that elements of the Pakistani state are extremely friendly to the Afghan Taliban. They may want to fight the Taliban operating in Pakistan, but they make a distinction for the Afghan Taliban and are more friendly to it. This will be caught red-handed. Pakistan, whatever its Government, must now be confronted with this problem if we are to continue our friendly relationship with it in an effort to exterminate terrorism from that part of the world and from our own.