Pakistan has criticised the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden as an “unauthorised unilateral action” and warned Washington not to launch similar operations in the future.
The comments laid bare the tensions triggered by Monday’s attack, which came at time when US-Pakistani ties were already near rock bottom.
The Pakistani government has been assailed by domestic critics, while bin Laden's location in a house in a military town not far from the capital has led to international suspicions that elements of Pakistan’s security forces may have been harbouring him.
Those who lived near bin Laden’s final hideaway said the terror chief and his family rarely strayed from the house, and most of the neighbours were not aware that foreigners were living there.
Still, glimpses of life from inside the 15-foot walls began emerging.
One man, Sher Mohammed Khan, said his sister went to the house to administer a polio vaccination as part of a government-backed drive.
When she remarked on all the expensive SUVs inside the compound, a man immediately asked her to leave, but not before taking the vaccine to apparently administer to the children inside.
Khurshid Bibi, in her 70s, said one man living in the compound had given her lift to the market in the rain. She said her grandchildren played with the kids in the house and the people in the compound gave them rabbits as a gift.
But the occupants also attracted criticism.
“People were sceptical in this neighbourhood about this place and these guys. They used to gossip, say they were smugglers or drug dealers. People would complain that even with such a big house they didn’t invite the poor or distribute charity,” said Mashood Khan, a 45-year-old farmer.
Washington said it did not inform Islamabad about commando attack early on Monday morning on bin Laden for security reasons. The raid followed months of deteriorating relations between the CIA and Pakistan’s main intelligence service.
In a statement, the government said: “This event of unauthorised unilateral action cannot be taken as a rule.”
“The Government of Pakistan further affirms that such an event shall not serve as a future precedent for any state, including the US,” adding such actions can sometimes constitute a “threat to international peace and security.”
The statement may be partly motivated by domestic concerns. The government and army has come under criticism following the raid by those who have accused the government of allowing Washington to violate the country’s sovereignty.
Islamabad has also been angered at the suspicions it had been sheltering bin Laden.