The then president Asif Ali Zardari, then army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and other top officials all knew that bin Laden was in Pakistan, said Mukhtar, who was then defense minister.

This is the first time a senior Pakistani leader has publicly admitted what was always suspected, that the Pakistani establishment was aware that Bin Laden was living in Abbottabad, close to capital city Islamabad.

To the question if Pakistan's then president and prime minister knew about Osama being at Abbottabad, Mukhtar said, "The people who were part and parcel of the whole action, like the president of Pakistan, the armed forces chief, the joint chief of staff and the agency people, they were all activated and they were all waiting for orders for them to come out with their teams and provide all the information which they should have done earlier".

"Some people knew, people in the Pakistan army as well as people in the other forces... they also knew it and they were on the lookout for somebody of the stature of Osama bin Laden," the former defense minister said in response to another question.


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