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Uncomfortable Silence: Pakistan After Bin Laden

Posted on May 3, 2011
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Foreign Relations, Law & Justice, Politics
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Adil Najam

What do Pakistanis think about how Osama Bin Laden met his end, the implications of that end?

There are as many opinions on what happened in Abbottabad as there are Pakistanis. Maybe more. But there is no sense whatsoever where the government of Pakistan (or any of its major institutions) stand on what happened – or stood when it was happening. For 36 hours now the world has been waiting to see what Pakistan does and says – the silence and incoherence from Islamabad has not just been embarrassing, it has been damning. Finally, key institutions in Pakistan have begun trying to piece a narrative together – unfortunately it is way too late and the narrative itself rather lame.

When I put up a short post on Osama Bin Laden’s death soon after the news broke, I had hoped that in time more details would become available and we would get more clarity on what happened and how. We do now have more detail. But certainly not more clarity. The story about what happened in Abbottabad now lives in Spin-abad. Everyone – from governments, secret agencies, the media, the Twitterati, and your spinster aunt – are taking a spin. Many are taking multiple, sometimes contradictory, spins. Everyone except the Pakistan government.

That, of course, is a surprise – not only because the Pakistan government does have a lot of explaining to do, but even more because it is in the interest of the Pakistan government to do that explaining itself rather than have someone else do it for them. Yet, up until it was already too late, Pakistan seems to have abdicated that responsibility. In fact, President Barack Obama, Secretary Hillary Clinton and Senator John Kerry seemed to be making that (half-hearted) case for Pakistan more than anyone in authority in Pakistan. Given that President Obama had informed President Zardari before the speech from the US President, one would have assumed that the Pakistan President and his media handlers would have their own statement ready to go on the air minutes, if not seconds, after President Obama’s speech. This is not about spin and PR, this is Diplomacy 101: Own and define the narrative as soon and as clearly as you can before someone else defines it for you – especially if the narrative is likely to be unfavorable.

But the narrative, itself, is not the core of Pakistan’s challenges. The problem is the facts on the ground and the government’s inability and unwillingness to explain them. Pakistan is used to the feeling of the world ganging up on it. But there are good reasons for the questions being asked of Pakistan by the world today. There are even better reasons for the questions being asked of Pakistan by Pakistanis today. Whether the government comes clean to the world or not, it is vital that it respond to Pakistanis. The first is a matter of national image (no trivial issue, that), but the latter is a question of citizen trust in national institutions (an existential element of statehood).

The fact is that there is a Pakistan case to be made on this issue. And it needs to be made to Pakistanis much more than to the rest of the world. It is a case that forcefully stresses that a world, and a Pakistan, without Osama Bin Laden in it is a vastly better world than one with him in it – this is a villain who orchestrated events that have left more than 30,000 Pakistanis dead in extremism and terrorism. It is a case that legitimately highlights the sacrifices that Pakistan and Pakistanis have, in fact, made in the fight against terrorism. Most importantly, it is a case that honestly analyzes what happened in Abbottabad – it is not a surprise that Osama Bin Laden was found in Pakistan and in a large urban area (just like nearly every other major Al Qaida figure captured) – but an explanation is owed on why Pakistani intelligence failed to make the connections that led to him, an explanation is owed on exactly what Pakistan’s official role in the final operation was (or was not), and an explanation is owed on exactly what Pakistan’s strategy on countering terrorism is, who is running it, and why it is not working well enough or fast enough.

In a country and an ‘establishment’ as divided as Pakistan, this cannot be an easy conversation; it is not supposed to be. It is time to ask honest and tough questions of everyone. It has long need a necessary conversation; now is the time to have it.

92 Comments on “Uncomfortable Silence: Pakistan After Bin Laden”

  1. thegreenmenace says:
    May 4th, 2011 2:21 am

    Thank you for a thoughtful and well written response, it is very much needed from Pakistani voices.
    Do you have any thoughts about what will happen to this compound? Is it silly to imagine that this becomes an opportunity to memorialize Pakistan’s sacrifices in the War on Terror? Those unnecessary deaths are real whatever we find out about the role Pakistan’s military and intelligence apparatus. Is it naive for me to hope that one day when I visit Pakistan again, I can visit the Abbottabad War on Terror Memorial?

  2. Mike D. says:
    May 4th, 2011 2:37 am

    Pakistan is silent because it has skeletons to hide.

  3. May 4th, 2011 2:45 am

    According to the American announcement, Osama bin Laden was not killed DURING the firefight but executed with a shot in the head AFTER he had been taken into custody. Like CIA kingpin K. Subrahmanyam’s fake death, his death — in preparation for a withdrawal from Afghanistan — is a consequence of India having prepositioned five to six nuclear weapons in various cities/countries for the nuclear destruction of New Delhi and then the coast-to-coast destruction of the United states (see below) and may be similarly fake.

    I am India’s expert in strategic defence and the father of India’s strategic program, including the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program and in my blog titled ‘Nuclear Supremacy For India Over U.S.’, which can be found by a Yahoo search with the title, I have shown that all terrorism and insurgencies in the Indian subcontinent and in much of the rest of the world are sponsored by the C.I.A. Both Pakistan’s ISI and India’s RAW function as branches of the C.I.A. and participate in terrorism and insurgencies throughout the Subcontinent, under direction of the C.I.A. The goal of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and partial occupation of Pakistan is eventual occupation and overt colonial rule over the Subcontinent as a whole; India is already under covert CIA rule. To end this, India has said that five to six nuclear bombs have been prepositioned in various cities/countries such as New Delhi, Washington and New York — see my blog — for the nuclear destruction of New Delhi and then the coast-to-coast destruction of the United States.

    Indian media people have been covering the white man’s wedding as if he is India’s prince. How many stories have you carried about India’s sovereign (see my blog above) who is also the most intelligent, most handsome man on Earth whose toe-nail clippings are worth more to India and the world than the rest of the billion-plus Indians combined? RAW has been putting out a breathless story on the white man’s wedding, in the Times of India, NDTV, etc., about every five minutes just as it promotes the AIDS woman and her gang-rapist son. It is all part of maintaining white rule over India (see ‘What You Should Know About RAW’ in my blog above).

    India’s emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was kept in exile while the British ruled India just as India’s sovereign is being kept in exile while the CIA rules India. Tens of millions of Indians killed by the British in just the ten years after 1857 — depopulating entire regions so there weren’t any men left to till the land — and many more right up to 1947 is how you generate love and admiration for conquerors — Americans doing the same in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. call it ‘pacification’ — loved and admired by one Swapan Dasgupta who wrote a column admiring me as “Quick Gun Murugan” about twenty years ago at which he was recruited by CIA-RAW. India will depopulate enemies — to hell with love and admiration — with nuclear bombs.

    Satish Chandra

  4. Akif Nizam says:
    May 4th, 2011 2:47 am

    Zardari did post an opinion column in Washington Post today:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/pakistan-did-its-part/2011/05/02/AFHxmybF_story.html

    Not enough in my opinion. Vultures are out for the kill today. Everywhere you look, it’s selective opinion targeting Pakistan without any facts to back anything up.

  5. Umar says:
    May 4th, 2011 3:03 am

    Excellent article. I wish Zardari and anyone in his team coudl think as straight.

  6. Farooq says:
    May 4th, 2011 3:07 am

    This is a must read. Politely worded but hard hitting.
    And very tough too. Specially your last two paragraphs. You are right, easy or not, we need to ask why government is keeping quiet just to appease some right wingers and THIS is the time to have some military intelligence heads role.

  7. Nadir says:
    May 4th, 2011 3:10 am

    If Pakistan knew about this raid and Bin Laden then the Pakistanis would have whisked away Bin Laden before the Americans got there.
    If Pakistanis knew about Bin Laden but not this raid, then the Pakistanis would have fired on the non-stealth US helicopters.

    Only viable theories left are:
    1. Pakistanis knew about the raid but not Bin Laden.
    2. Pakistanis had Bin Ladens frozen dead body and got an additional couple of billion dollars as kickback for helping Obama in poll numbers. (my pick).

  8. Jawed says:
    May 4th, 2011 3:13 am

    Good post, Sir.
    Where have the government’s spin masters been: the decieving duo of Farahnaz Isphahani and Hussain Haqqani, always busy in putting forth US view.
    And also where was the whole spin and PR machinery of the ISI and military. No squeak from them.
    Shame on you Hussain Haqqani, Shame on you ISI.

  9. Beena says:
    May 4th, 2011 3:39 am

    Interesting picture in the post.
    Guess the US military is like Pakistan military. The General has the seat at the head and the US president crouches at his feet :-)

  10. Shez says:
    May 4th, 2011 4:08 am

    Pakistani military has let its people down. It is impossible that they were unaware of Americans especially when they flew from Tarbela airbase. Whatever maybe the hidden story, one thing is clear.

    Pakistani military establishment has made a big mistake. There is still time to overcome that. The world knows about the deeds of Americans. They have blood of hundreds of millions on their hand. Also Pakistan has the resources to give Americans a very tough time in Afghanistan. India can be rein in too very easily.

    The only problem is that the generals are either too afraid or insane. There is nothing black and white in this world. Diplomacy is a dirty game and US and India are champions of hoodwiking. In fact, every country in the world takes care of its own interests and use all means to justify its actions. What the Pakistani military is doing? Is it sleeping?

  11. question says:
    May 4th, 2011 4:20 am

    Very well written and I totally with this post.We should question our government and they should respond to it. This is highly embarrassing situation not only for them but for the whole nation. However questions and explanations goes equally for both sides
    I repeat – I don’t understand why does it has to be either/or why can’t we question both Pak/US side as they together have screwed our nation.
    I wonder why should I believe and trust Obama/ US for saying that the person who was captured and killed was actually Osama? I wonder if he was even alive to be killed? what is the evidence?
    I can understand that they did not try to capture him alive because it involved certain risks but why they have not shown his body/ face as evidence and bodies / faces of other dead /alive people? do they need time to design it?
    Yes these questions may sound like conspiracy theory but don’t you think that they also needed to do some explanation to avoid these theories?
    CIA and US army needed face saving due to gradual loss of credibility, Obama needed it to review US economy and win election and I guess our leaders needed more money. Motives are clear, evidence is needed either in favor or against!
    I repeat – I don’t understand why does it has to be either/or why can’t we question both Pak/US side as they together seem to be screwing our nation.

  12. Shez says:
    May 4th, 2011 4:27 am

    @question

    You have raised valid points. The haste with which they ‘dumped’ the body is scandalous. Pictures of dead leaders were taken during WWI and the most technologically advanced country did not do that in 2011? There is more than what meets the eye. US has a history of playing dirty games.

    But the dilemma is why the Pakistani establishment became a pawn in their hand? Pakistani military has lost hundreds, if not thousands, of supporters because of this action. Either they should have conducted this ‘raid’ themselves or should have destroyed the attacking choppers with everyone in it. And now they are silent. This is disgusting.

  13. Faisal says:
    May 4th, 2011 4:35 am

    I guess we have to wait for wikileaks to find out what really happened here. .

  14. Meengla says:
    May 4th, 2011 4:42 am

    Those saying Pakistanis needed ‘more money’ to allow this operation are living in some lala land: If anything, whatever paltry money gets into Pakistan after accounting for the loss of economy, after paying the foreign staff, after compensating for the use of Pak military ‘bases’ is being questioned in America.

    As to why the Pakistani govt. is silent, I have my own conspiracy theory! I guess I will be the first here, if not in the world! So here it is: The real power, as we all know, is held by the military inside Pakistan since ZAB was overthrown from power in 1977. The limits to the power of the civilian govt. can be seen by the military’s dismissal of Zardari’s offer of ‘no first nuke use’ policy against India, by military’s dismissal of Zardari decision to send ISI chief to India post Mumbai 2008, and by the fact that Zardari still cannot enter Pakistan’s ‘sensitive’ installations.
    So, let’s cut the crap and say that it is not the ‘govt’ of Pakistan which holds real power. I think the democratic govt. of Pakistan–which may be ‘corrupt’ but not any worse than others in the Sub-continent–is probably finding it a chance to take advantage of military’s humiliation and cut it to its size. And I would welcome the civilian coup!
    How’s that?!

  15. Shez says:
    May 4th, 2011 4:47 am

    Zardari supporters are advancing their own theories. Good that they are being exposed.

  16. Azeema says:
    May 4th, 2011 4:58 am

    High time that we answer these questions!!

  17. kohestani says:
    May 4th, 2011 5:10 am

    {{{ In fact, every country in the world takes care of its own interests and use all means to justify its actions. What the Pakistani military is doing? Is it sleeping?}}}

    Pakistani army is not sleeping. The Generals are doing whatever they can do to save the interests of “their” army. Don’t forget – the army first. The rest of the country can go to hell.

  18. BoomBoom says:
    May 4th, 2011 5:39 am

    This incident has proved that pakistan army generals and those in ISI leader ship are only there to make money.
    They have completely embarrassed pakistan and insulted each and every pakistani with their incompetance, corruption, lying cheating and shamefullness.
    They should stripped of their medals and paraded naked in every city of pakistan with blackening their faces.
    They are full of dirt and crap, no matter whatever happened they completely failed a nation again.
    poor soldiers are dying because of these generals stupidity and ficklness while they send their sons ABROAD for study.

    They are literally pigs of pakistan no more then that.

  19. banjara says:
    May 4th, 2011 6:06 am

    i have no idea why everyone is so surprised? i had already said on the other board two days ago that the military/security establishment will hide, leaving the civilian govt. to deal with the mess as clumsily as they can. what else were you expecting?

    i suppose, you still expect these cowards to fight and protect pakistanis …

  20. Mike says:
    May 4th, 2011 6:48 am

    From article in NYT:

    A civilian official in the Pakistani government said he did not know if the ISI helped Bin Laden hide or was simply unaware of his presence in Abbottabad. Either way, the successful American raid was an international humiliation for the agency.

    “I’m not denying the possibility,” the official said, referring to the ISI sheltering Bin Laden. “At worst, it’s that. At best, it’s total incompetence.”

    He said he hoped the raid would lead Pakistanis — particularly military and ISI leaders — to recognize the deep credibility problem their country now faces internationally.

    “Pakistan has to overcome a culture,” he said, “of thinking that they can brazenly lie their way through.”

  21. Imran Khan says:
    May 4th, 2011 6:53 am

    I think we are in a very defining moment as far as Pak-US relations are concerned. OBL by moving next to the military academy and US by conducting a very successful raid in all its aspects have slapped the Pakistani military and ISI quite hard. So it is not surprising that they are going to take some time to figure out what should be their next step.
    The success of the raid also sets up a precedence to conduct raids deep into Pakistan without their permission or even awareness. This has also disclosed gaping holes in the air defense system.
    My personal prediction is that while in the short run the way it was conducted will be overlooked because of the success, but in the long term it is broken the US-Pak relations for good, and it is not clear if that is a good thing for the US interests in the region.

  22. nihari says:
    May 4th, 2011 7:11 am

    It is not a uncomfortable silence. It is a circus of bumbling idiots. Here are the questions.
    1. If Pakistani government and army didn’t knew about the existence of Osama in this area and were totally taken by surprise than we should rather wrap our nuclear assets in silver foil and hand it over to USA. Our army in this scenario proved itself to be incompetent fools who are eating the national budget for no apparent reason. They should stop conquering Pakistan again and again.
    2. It they are aware of this operation, and this was joint exercise, that don’t they have balls to be proud to be a part of the operation that killed one of the biggest terrorist who was responsible for the direct and indirect deaths of millions of muslims and other human beings. Again if they don’t have the balls, that go to scenario one.

  23. Meengla says:
    May 4th, 2011 8:25 am

    @Nihari,
    You are right. In both scenarios Pakistani military looks bad: Incompetent or complicit. What a joke!

  24. Eidee Man says:
    May 4th, 2011 8:41 am

    On blogs, news sites, facebook, twitter, etc etc every Pakistani seems to be blaming Zardari for not coming up with a proper statement, or as Adil puts it, an explanation.

    Do any of you seriously think that the civilian government has any clue whatsoever about the real facts. Do you really think that they have any more knowledge about this than we do?

    Why are we never able to point a finger at the military??

    While Al Qaeda has butchered Pakistanis, destroyed the country’s economy, the military has been busy hosting its leader in a mansion.

    From 1947 this worthless military has been destroying Pakistan in every way it can. It has never allowed a free election. It got a popular leader hanged. It committed genocide on its own people in Bengal. It has always been anxious to start wars that it has been defeated comprehensively in. It has attacked its own people everywhere except in Punjab (wonder why…).

    I get enraged whenever I hear Pakistanis talk about how great the ISI is. Really? The ISI has been the single greatest threat to our national security.

  25. Samdani says:
    May 4th, 2011 8:55 am

    @Eideeman
    Actually the article does talk about agencies again and again. But the more important point that is that it is the PRESIDENT who should be speaking, no matter what the power equation. If nothing else, to assert that power. To give up on even speaking to the country is to abdicate. Whatever the internal politics, there is a reality of the office of the President that only the President can pull of. It does not matter whether you like the President or not, this is about the office. From the US it was the Navy Seals who carried the guns and killed Osama, but the announcement was made by the President. Its just the appropriate thing to do. I agree with you and with Adil that that the agencies and the military has failed. But it is still the President who should be the face of speaking to the nation. Imagine if Kiyani would have come on TV minutes after Obama’s speech to explain things… is THAT what you want? I would much rather have the elected government do that, irrespective of what I think of Zardari.

  26. Noman says:
    May 4th, 2011 9:02 am

    Very well written. First sensible analysis I have read on this.
    I think some heads should roll… First people to be fired: Hussain Haqqani and Gen. Ashfaque Kiyani.

  27. Eidee Man says:
    May 4th, 2011 9:23 am

    @Noman

    why Hussain Haqqani? I don’t envy him one bit; poor guy knows full well that the Pakistan military establishment is rotten to the core, yet he has to lie and defend them everywhere….irony is that even though he is hated in conservative/army circles, he does a robust job of defending them.

  28. Samdani says:
    May 4th, 2011 9:25 am

    I have the same feeling. Why Haqqani? Maybe he did need to be on the media quicker, but he has done a difficult job well since then. Certainly the joker of a woman who is the Information minister. What does she do anyhow?

  29. ShahidnUSA says:
    May 4th, 2011 9:45 am

    After reading all the comments I think that some elements in the Pakistani army protected and guarded Osa this long, either they got stunned and fooled thinking he was some sort of a Masaya
    ( Imam before the doomsday) or they got paid by god knows who.

    Many would still live in denial, distrust and feel good conspiracy theories.

    But the future children and the children’s children would live to tell.

    I hope at this moment the speech writers are preparing the speech for the Pakistani President.

  30. Moise says:
    May 4th, 2011 11:12 am

    Recall Benazir last interview with Frost. Second killing of OBL is a precursor to attack on Pakistan. Reason is Pakistan and Saudi Arab siding with China and ditching US. Pakistan is the new boogeyman.

  31. unknown says:
    May 4th, 2011 11:15 am

    The pakistani army, intelligence and the government of pakistan is a humiliation to this nation.

  32. Babar says:
    May 4th, 2011 12:22 pm

    are nuclear arsenals safe? Do we even have one? What game they are upto?

  33. May 4th, 2011 1:06 pm

    Its a Big drama against Pakistan

  34. Sharood Zafar says:
    May 4th, 2011 1:17 pm

    Well written! I am amazed at the Government’s decision to stay quiet in all of this when everyone around the globe is finding reasons to point the finger at us. But I think this isn’t the first time that they have surprised us. The is a similar scene to when Raymond Davis was released and handed back to the US authorities, there was the same silence in the air.
    But you are right when you mention that there is a case which needs to be build for Pakistan. I think none of the so-called leaders are interested in doing this. No one is willing to talk about the fact that Osama bin Laden and his minions are reason so many of us have lost their bread winners or been incapacitated for life. To top that off, innocent people have fallen victim to the treacherous drone attacks in the northern areas. We as a country have suffered the effects of the war on the other side of the border!

    They want to talk about equality then lets face it, human lives have the same value whether you are in the States or in Pakistan. The losses we have suffered in the so called “Do More” exercise are numerous but no one is answerable to that. The way that this Government plans to stand aloof on such major issues is pathetic! I think the solution to this is that we first root out the scum which has plagued our institutions before we blame others for our dire state…………

  35. Faraz says:
    May 4th, 2011 1:32 pm

    The question that I would like answered is why is my tax money being spent on DHA and golf clubs, instead of on education, health or at the very least, a god damn radar system with better coverage?

    We, as a nation, have eaten the proverbial grass for four decades, and now we find out that our pampered army is caught quite literally with its pants down.

    While the establishment may well have to dodge the questions of the international community about why Osama was found in the army’s backyard, but more pertinent question that the people of this country owe an answer to is, how can four choppers enter our airspace, travel for at least half an hour right into the heartland of our military installations, conduct a 40 minute raid, and then get out (who knows maybe they stopped over somewhere to have breakfast), without anyone knowing about it.

    This event has absolutely shattered the mythical image of an invincible, omnipotent, omniscient ISI in the eyes of the average Pakistani. The only thing they are good at is bugging phone calls of Pakistani citizens, abducting them and cobbling up political parties like IJI.

  36. Khalid R Hasan says:
    May 4th, 2011 1:32 pm

    If our security forces were unaware that relatively slow moving helicopters had flown across the country, stopped for 40 minutes, and then flown out again without being intercepted, billions spent in the name of the country’s “defence” have clearly been wasted. It would be more reassuring to learn that they did nothing because they were actually aware of the action.

  37. Jawaid Islam says:
    May 4th, 2011 2:09 pm

    Why is the government silent on such a big incident? Apparently they have been ordered to be quiet. Why else would a sovereign country( are we so) chooose not to make a strong case of this intrusion of our air space, carrying out the operation and taking the dead away.

    Lots of questions: apparent gunshots, the Apache crashing, blasting it away, so much noise and a military a few yards away, it could not spring into action. Simply because they were told not to.

    How can a man so wanted, remain hidden where he was despite the city being so near to a military academy and not be apprehended when he came to hide there.

    A man needing dialysis, could he have survived without it all these years? A supposed terrorist and no big army to protect him in that compound, no ammunition found?

    The control room, it could be a picture from recent attacks on Libya. We as well want to see what was being shown there.

    Zardari, Kiyani, gilani, you owe some answers to us Pakistanis. How many Raymond Davises are roaming our country, no one knows, American soldiers in figure hugging T shirts may be amongst our own army. (Kiyani changed our Army’s uniform the moment he was appointed, to look much like what the yankees don.)

  38. Copper says:
    May 4th, 2011 2:55 pm

    The military leadership only get aroused if someone hits there monetary benefits, otherwise we are cool man is their saga. There should be nishan-e-beghairti awarded to them

  39. razia says:
    May 4th, 2011 3:57 pm

    the pakistani government has covertly surrendered the country to the us to do whatever. half of sobra city (tarbela) is under us and its pakistani agents control.

    it’s a drama (false flag) like so many before, staged with ulterior motives that will take time to decipher. http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/59.html

  40. May 4th, 2011 5:31 pm

    خبر نہیں کیا ہے نام اس کا، خدا فریبی کہ خود فریبی
    عمل سے فارغ ہوا مسلماں بنا کے تقدیر کا بہانہ

    Yes, the silence of Pakistan’s Establishment is damning. However, the gullibility that the author of this piece has shown reflects Pakistanis’ inferiority complex in relation to the Americans.

    Obama has made some fantastic claims without providing a shred of evidence. These claims are now being questioned overseas, for example, in the UK – but not in Pakistan. For more details please click on the link below and read the blog and the comments. What I have written there has already been published in the British press online.

    http://sakibahmad.blogspot.com/2011/05/death-of-osama-bin-laden.html

  41. MQ says:
    May 4th, 2011 5:46 pm

    @ Beena on page 2: I guess you are looking at the picture through Pakistani glasses.

    This picture was on the front page of The New York Times yesterday. The White House team is watching the live images transmitted from Abbottabad, from the operation site, to the White House via the CIA Director’s office in Virginia, using a technology that most of us don’t understand. The officer sitting in the middle, or “at the head”, as you say, is operating the projection system. If you look carefully, the number one man in the US armed forces, Mike Mullen, is standing in the back, behind the president. The US generals know their place. Those who don’t are shown the door. Remember General McChrystal ?

  42. saeed says:
    May 4th, 2011 7:13 pm

    Opportunity to transform Pakistan
    ‘We didn’t know’ if this is what the ‘most feared’ agencies and army telling than god bless Pakistan. We were told time and again in fact at least 4 times in the short history of Pakistan that only army could save Pakistan. We were programmed to sing songs for them…now we know that they are responsible for destroying Pakistan with their adventures and lust for power but also are quite inept when it comes spying and intelligence gathering.
    I heard the speech of general Kiyani the other day…he was talking about sacrifices and national pride… I think it should start from there. If you compare the life style of our retired generals with Indians and even with Americans, you find that these guys are in for money and not for any honor.
    Time has come for Pakistan to repurpose resources from military so maybe we can really stand up. Here is an opportunity to make Pakistan whole. At this time we are closer to Somalia than Indonesia. We are standing at the crossroad of history. Great nations are made by people and not by dictate. Look at what is happening in Indonesia, Turkey and other countries; they were all run by military dictators at some point. Look at them now; they are functional democracies and thriving. So it is possible to transform Pakistan into a decent civilized society.
    The Worst civilian government is better than a dictator for a simple fact that you can potentially throw them out.

  43. auk says:
    May 4th, 2011 7:53 pm

    I am not one for conspiracy theories, but I second the thoughts expressed by some about the Americans’ claims, considering how the whole post operation frenzy is handled. Why was the body released in sea with such haste? What’s this obsession with the last rites for the most wanted man on earth? The body like so many others before him could have been brought to the US and kept for any future forensic analysis. As for releasing pictures of the body, frankly I can now release a (doctored) photo of OBLs dead body. I question this because in the last 10 years or so since Tora Bora, there is not one solid proof of OBL being alive. At that time it was claimed that he had kidney disease and was on dialysis. If we believe that, then the chance of him surviving for 10 years while on the run are minimal at best. Secondly I don’t remember one authentic audio of him coming out since. The few messages that were released were generic at best, without mentioning any specific events, and hence could have been recorded at any time in the past. Lastly, it is very easy for Pakistan to prove that it was OBL who actually died there. There is blood all over the place, and one of the blood samples (as claimed) is his. We can use that blood to match the DNA with that of the family members. Unless corroborated by more than one source, it seems unlikely that it was him.

  44. Manu says:
    May 4th, 2011 8:01 pm

    Do the Americans realize how their inability to release pictures and haste in having the body disappear at sea is quickly eroding some faith in what say has happened.

  45. MQ says:
    May 4th, 2011 8:18 pm

    @auk: It is not unusual or unexpected that many people don’t believe that OBL was killed in Abbottabad. People usually tend to believe or seek information that is consistent with their own views. If not, they reject it or distort it to make it conform to their views.

    If one goes back into history, many people didn’t believe for quite sometime that Hitler was killed in his bunker. More recently, many people didn’t believe Jaranail Singh Bhindranwala was killed in the storming of the Golden Temple. And, many people, including in America, did not believe that man had landed on the moon. This is true of OBL’s death, too. However, what is amusing though is that those in Pakistan who don’t believe OBL was killed in Abbottabad are also offering ghaaebana funeral prayers him. How illogical!

    My intuition tells me that OBL is already savoring the various delights in jannat (or is it Jannah?)

    But, as also pointed out in this post, the place and manner of OBL’s death raises many legitimate questions. We will need to find satisfactory answers to them.

  46. Samdani says:
    May 4th, 2011 8:24 pm

    @MQ
    If you are right (and I think you are), then I guess those who believe that he is dead (simply on the evidence of the US President saying so) are also just believing what they want to believe (I certainly want to believe that he is dead, but it will be good to get some evidence, no?)

  47. auk says:
    May 4th, 2011 9:07 pm

    I don’t care what people believe or not. This is the biggest embarrassment for Pakistan and its security establishment with long term repercussions and it is Pakistan’s prerogative to make sure that the events as described took place. Pakistan has the DNA evidence and they need to use it to make certain that it is OBL who died there.

  48. Shez says:
    May 4th, 2011 9:14 pm

    Thanks to OBL episode, people like Hoodbhoy are having a field day. Just listen to him on TV channels and read his articles. Glad to know at least they are making some money off this propaganda. Can anyone tell me what is the policy of western public universities where they allow professors to make anti-patriotic statements and do it over years and decades without losing their job? Especially if they teach basic sciences and not politics?

    It is only in Pakistan where Hood and others of his ilk have a field day and still retain their position in public universities.

  49. MQ says:
    May 4th, 2011 9:38 pm

    @Samdani: Yes, we all are looking for information consistent with own views. But my hunch is that it is too big a risk for the POTUS, particularly Obama, to concoct such a big lie and get away with it. It’s the age of wikileaks and truth is bound to come out sooner than later. If it turns out to be false, can you imagine what the Republicans, the Tea partiers, the Fox news, the Trumps, the Bachmans and the Palins will do to Obama?

  50. shah says:
    May 4th, 2011 10:36 pm

    It is a very good description of the whole event. It has helped me a lot in understanding the whole situation. Thanks for sharing it with the public.
    http://www.dunyanews.tv/index.php?key=Q2F0SUQ9MiNOaWQ9MjUyNTE=

  51. banjara says:
    May 4th, 2011 10:49 pm

    i think that the possibility that they amy have taken obl alive (though disabled and unconscious) has been dismissed out of hand.

  52. Meengla says:
    May 4th, 2011 11:44 pm

    Well, here is one Pakistani who ‘Live Tweeted’ the American raid to capture Bin Laden. One of the neighbors. Read carefully and ready to adjust some stereotypes.

    Join the Q &A via Huffington Post!

    Some excerpts.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/04/sohaib-athar-reallyvirtual_n_857385.html

    —————————————-
    Drewmaust asks in the Huff Post comments
    Sohaib, on the map it looks like there is a church just a block or so away from the compound. Evere been? What can you tell us about it? Are there Christians in Abbottabad­?

    There are many christians in Abbottabad – and yes, there are more than one churches as well. The town was built by the British so there are also a lot of mission schools besides the churches. The christian community lives peacefully with the muslims (just in case you were wondering).
    ——————————
    @ezekial asks via Twitter
    What people in Abbottabad thought about #OBL’s mansion in the last 5 years? didn’t it look creepy?

    First of all, it was not a mansion – it was an unfinished house, despite covering a large area, the construction was quite normal and did not really stand out much. WHen I talked to the locals, they attributed the tall walls to the religious nature of the residents (the ones that were visible publicly)
    ——————————————-
    DoesNotComputer asks in the Huff Post comments:
    What was the reaction of your neighbors when they finally understood the news? In addition to the surprise, were they feel a positive attitude toward the fact that he was gone? What was the general consensus? Also, just want to send my love to you from the USA :)

    The neighbors were mostly happy when I saw their faces, perhaps, because many of the evacuated people (from the Swat operations) chose to settle in Abbottabad. This city has all types of people, so I can’t really tell you anything about the general consensus besides the attitude of the 50-60 people that I have interacted with in the last 2 days. And thanks :-)
    —————————-

  53. Truth Seeker says:
    May 5th, 2011 3:34 am

    Obama’s decision not to release OBLs photos is a tight slap on the face of conspiracy theorists. The american president does not care about proving anything to anyone, neither does he care about the rabid right wing of America calling for the release of those gory photos.

  54. Shez says:
    May 5th, 2011 3:57 am

    @auk

    The decision to not release photos has exposed the hoax of the US government and their lapdogs. And since when the Americans started respecting Muslim burial laws? What about Saddam’s body and those of his sons who were not buried for days. And those hundreds of people with alleged Taliban links who were left to die in containers and remained unburied for days. America has blood of millions on its hand and if one believes in the purity of blood; it will not go astray. It will haunt the US till the last day of its existence.

  55. Farman says:
    May 5th, 2011 5:22 am

    Excellent commentary.
    I think the reason for the silence is that the government and military has been afraid to the right wing and what they would do and say if they found that actually Pakistan authorities were central part of this.

  56. Eidee Man says:
    May 5th, 2011 7:25 am

    Reading the comments on this blog and commentary on Facebook, etc, I realized something.

    When Benazir was assassinated, I specifically remember many tweets, Facebook updates, and comments on various blogs expressing either pleasure, or a sort of she-deserved-it attitude. It is extremely sad to see that MORE Pakistanis seem to be distressed at the death of a criminal, terrorist, arab wahabi thug, than the first democratically elected woman. Do we need more evidence that we are rotten to the core?

  57. Jabbar says:
    May 5th, 2011 7:42 am

    Eidee, I think that is unfair.
    First, comparing an international leader (no matter what you think about her) like Benazir Bhutto to a murderer and thug like Osama is unfair right there.
    Also, I di not detect distress at his death at all. Even the Pakistani media is mostly happy that he is dead and we have seen very very few people expressing any distress about this in demonstration etc. The fact is that there has been little public support for him after his death at all.
    There is distress but it is at the Pakistan agencies and governments handling of this but not at Osama’s death.

  58. Meengla says:
    May 5th, 2011 8:53 am

    @Jabbar,
    I agree and well said, sir.
    But I have to say that American media has been most unfair: Continuing to beam photos of a few thousand people mourning OBL death in a population of 180 million. Continuing to call that rather ordinary house as ‘McMansion’ at $1 million while photos will show that it was not that extra-ordinary or even that expensive. Continuing to downplay that the vast majority of Pakistanis do not care about OBL’s death. Continuing to downplay even OBL’s neighbors’ accounts that they could not have imagined OBL living there even though the house was ‘odd’.
    Why don’t we here educate others about houses in Pakistan and about the possibility that indeed it possible to evade an incompetent ISI–whose own officials and facilities have been targeted by AQaida–could have conceivably missed the scum OBL’s not-so-extraordinary house?

  59. Sridhar says:
    May 5th, 2011 11:22 am

    Meengla,

    One can continue to blame it on incompetence, but this would entail an extraordinarily high degree of incompetence, to the extent of not being plausible at all.

    Whatever else the police in our region are capable of or not, but they are capable of saturation coverage of sensitive, high risk areas. For instance, starting several days before every important occasion in India such as Independence Day, Republic Day etc., when there is a threat of terrorist attacks, every single dwelling for several miles around the major venues are completely ‘sanitized’. In Delhi and virtually every state capital where there is any risk of an attack. All hotels, lodges, guest houses and even most of the homes in ‘sensitive areas’ are checked and their occupants accounted for. Despite the lack of good intelligence, as has been repeatedly proved, at least there is the capability for policing. The police does not bother itself with niceties and is often least bothered about the convenience of residents, but it gets the job done. Even in megacities such as Delhi, and in congested areas such as the walled city (the Independence Day festivities take place at the Red Fort, within the walled city, for instance).

    Now compare that to the situation in Abbottabad. This may not be a mansion, but it was a large house – large enough to stand out. Locals apparently called it Waziristan house or Waziristan haveli or something like that. There were two levels of high compound walls and barbed wire fencing there. People clearly lived there, but even the menfolk seemed to not show themselves. And this was in a relatively small place where things get noticed – this was no Karachi. Any such place so close to a major target for terrorists would in any place in the subcontinent be subject to investigation. Even in India, where the army is not treated any differently from any other Government institution/department, the areas around army bases would be subject to pretty high degree of scrutiny. I suspect there is much more intense scrutiny in Pakistan, given the primacy of the army and the intrusiveness of the intelligence agenices. It makes little sense that the Army and ISI and the military/civilian police were so incompetent.

    The only conclusion one can draw is that they knew about the place and its occupants. Even if everybody in the chain of command did not know, at least somebody sufficiently senior did. And prevented others from approaching it or investigating it. For instance, the safe houses of the ISI would be off limits to the military police or civilian police personnel who would normally have jurisdiction over it. Most functionaries would not know what is inside these houses – they would only be told that they were not to go near them. It seems like the house Osama bin Laden lived it had a similar status. There is no other logical explanation.

  60. Hiralious says:
    May 5th, 2011 11:49 am

    Lol. ‘Obama’s refusal to realease the photos is a slap on the faces of conspiracy theorists. he didn’t have to prove anything to anyone’. someone’s really got an imagination to suit his ideas

    this is a good defence though. and should be practised in courts worldwide.

  61. Hiralious says:
    May 5th, 2011 11:56 am

    as a medical student i have a query. it is impossible for a patient of kidney failure to survive without a dialysis or transplant for so many years. OBL has had this end-stage-renal disease since late 1990s. can anyone explain the absence of a dialysis machine in the so called OBL-mansion?

  62. Hiralious says:
    May 5th, 2011 12:02 pm

    and the biggest question of all. why should i rejoice upon his death (when most credible of the independent researches have shown 9-11 to be an inside Job on the American govt’s part) they say he is indirectly responsible for killing of 36000 of our citizens but then ..U.S.A is directly responsible for the killing. i should hate them more.

    and i am no terrorist in the making. i am stating simple facts and questions that ravage my mind.

  63. Sridhar says:
    May 5th, 2011 12:06 pm

    The mainstream American media (and I don’t include Fox News in it) has not been suggesting that Pakistanis in general are mourning Osama’s death or exaggerating the images of the the extremist groups such as the JuD who took out public demonstrations. However, they are asking questions about the potential for complicity of the Pakistan Army and the ISI in sheltering OBL for all these years. As any observer within the region knows for a long time, the Pakistan army and the ISI have been hand in glove with many terror organizations. If anything, the American Government and the media in the US downplayed these ties for long. With the kind of evidence of such complicity that has emerged in recent years, they cannot possibly downplay it to the same extent any longer.

    Also, some people make the claim that Pakistan, the Pakistan Army and even the ISI itself have been targeted by terrorists and hence by extension could not be complicit any longer with terrorists even if they were hand in glove with them in the past. This may seem compelling to somebody who lumps all the terrorist organizations together, but is an obviously flawed argument to somebody who knows a little more. The organizations that have targeted Pakistani cities, the Pakistan army and its agencies are not the ones the army and the ISI are sheltering. The Afghan Taliban, the Haqqanis, the LeT, even elements of the Al Qaeda have been historically nurtured and continue to receive sustenance from the Pakistan army and its agencies, most notably the ISI. The organizations like TTP and some others who have turned against Pakistan in recent times are not the same as the above – the people involved are different, and their areas of operation and sphere of influence are different. Pakistan has not acted against the organizations it still nurtures, and it has not been targeted by them.

  64. Shez says:
    May 5th, 2011 1:30 pm

    Glad to see some PPP supporters. One thing is for sure in South Asian politics. Supporters of dynastic parties love them despite their heinous crimes. Any impartial person privy to Benazir’s deeds will not call her an angel. She had the blood of 15,000 innocent Mohajirs on her hands. And she was a feudal lady, a major snob, and a corrupt lady. So are other leaders of Pakistan and some generals too.

    It is about time that people from lower classes stand up and teach the exploiters a lesson. Don’t allow that stupid kid from Oxford or Nawaz or Shahbaz’s son to rule you. TEACH THEM A LESSON!

  65. Shez says:
    May 5th, 2011 1:37 pm

    @Sridhar

    What are you trying to prove? You have made your point that army knew about the house. Why these repetitions? Just to satisfy your ego to malign Pakistan?

    And you talked about Indian police. We almost have the same policing system inherited from the Raj. You can grease their palms and do anything. Don’t say that Indian police is better than Pakistan. We all know that they are the same as here or in other third world countries.

  66. Sridhar says:
    May 5th, 2011 6:54 pm

    Shez

    What repetition are you talking about? And where do you seen even a hint of ego? I am responding to a couple of points Meengla has made which I believe to be inccorrect. What exactly is wrong with that?

    Regarding the police, you make exactly my point. The police is indeed very similar in the two countries. Having seen the police in India is what makes it even more unlikely in my mind that this was a case of ineptness. It makes it even more certain that this was a designated safe house that the police knew was off limits for them.

    There has been an instance of some policemen taking bribes to facilitate a terrorist organization. – back in 1993 when they allowed the Dawood Ibrahim gang to transport RDX from Pakistan into India. However, even in that instance, they thought they were facilitating smuggling, not terrorism. After the bomb blasts, it took them 2 days to fing out almost everything we know about the incident. And the perpetrators were either arrested or fled to Dubai and eventually Pakistan, where they have been sheltered. To sum up, even the mumbai blasts case was one of taking bribes to facilitate smuggling it is highly unlikely that the same policemen or Customs officials would have taken bribes of they knew what was being smuggled – before this episode Dawood was a smuggler, not a terroris.t Not a single case has come up where the terrorists were allowed to hide because the police took bribes.

    Remember, Osama was the most wanted man in the world. Anybody who helped him hide after taking bribes ram the risk of being spirited away to Guantanamo and incarcerated indefinitely. I cannot see a corrupt policeman justifying such risks, whatever the amount of the bribe. Somebody would protect Osama in Abbottabad only because of ideological commitment or because they knew they were protected by the Pakistani state, in whose name they were acting.

  67. Sridhar says:
    May 5th, 2011 6:57 pm

    Apologies for a few typos in my last comment -I posted this using a phone.

  68. Shez says:
    May 5th, 2011 8:15 pm

    @Sridhar

    In every comment, you have talked that the army was involved and they knew about the house and its inhabitants. You have repeated the same thing in this latest comment. That’s why I said you were just being redundant. You have made your point and that’s it. Come up with something new or hold your peace.

  69. Sridhar says:
    May 5th, 2011 9:49 pm

    Shez,

    I looked through my comments on the topic. I have comments on two different posts on the OBL killing. A total of 7 comments including this one. Of those, 2 comments say something about the army knowing about it. Two other comments are about burial at sea, and the remaining comments including this one, are clarificatory in nature and don’t repeat the point about the Pakistan army knowing about the house. The first time I posted about the army knowing about the house (which itself was a response to many different comments), my main point was that the army knew about the US operation as well and that it had decided to give up OBL to the Americans. The second time, it was in response to a pointed comment by Meengla, which I felt deserved a counter-argument. My very first comment on the issue had nothing to say about the issue at all.

    Any objective person can see that there is nothing unreasonable about any of this. The only unreasonable thing on display here here is your insistence of going after the messenger rather than the message.

  70. Arun says:
    May 5th, 2011 10:18 pm

    As Indians we do have our grouses and are often bewildered with our issues with Pakistan. This however is a moment when I would leave those out of the discussion for a short while.
    What it boils down to is the venality of the politicians in power, and in your case perhaps the defense establishment too, which is more a part of politics than defense.

    The utter lack of regard for the common citizen has been the hallmark of sub-continental ruling elites.

    I do not doubt that the vast majority of Pakistanis would love nothing more than a chance to live in peace and dignity and tend to their families and work rather than fight wars that they absolutely do not need.

    Yet why is the national agenda hostage to a small minority of crooks?

    Civil society’s apathy to things beyond their daily concerns is a key factor. We in India battle it in the form of corruption today. It is with some hope that the Indian civil society has taken issues into their own hands and a awakening is underway. The educated middle class so far accused of self centered silence is now taking the lead, spearheaded by the youth.

    I suppose the time has come for something similar in your country too.

    We as Indian’s shall always be outsiders, but would wish you well in all right minded endeavors if and when they are initiated by the segment of your society which can.

    The same lies at the core of the Jasmine revolution in the Arab states, people’s will to write their own destiny. If we do not, someone else will do it for us.

    Wishing you well, in your deepest darkest hour.
    We realize only too well, that in peace is the only way we have a chance at finding our highest potentials as people.

    Love us hate us, do as you please, but peace be upon you.

  71. Sridhar says:
    May 5th, 2011 10:33 pm

    I second Arun’s views. As an active participant of the India Against Corruption campaign, I have personally seen the power that public opinion can play in bringing our leaders, who really consider themselves as masters, into line. It has also been wonderful to see people rise against tyrannies in the middle east. In the short term, this sometimes leads to more chaos. At least in the long term, it can only be a positive thing.

  72. Meengla says:
    May 5th, 2011 10:33 pm

    @Sridhar,
    There is some weight in your argument about the ‘ISI’ as an institution protecting some of its ‘assets’, particularly the Haqqani-led Talibans and the LeT. I am not going to go into the reasoning behind that here–not yet. However, just as painfully you went on to differentiate between various kinds of militants and so the reason why ‘ISI’ is targeted by some and not by some you still managed to paint the whole picture in one-stroke by labeling the institution of ‘ISI’ and perhaps even ‘Pakistani militar’y in directly complicity in protecting OBL.
    I think some kind of over-generalizations are going on.

    Why on Earth would ‘ISI’ hand over high-value Al Qaida targets to Americans over the years–the latest was some one caught barely a few weeks ago in Abbottabad itself–and ****then incriminate itself based on the intelligence gathered from those captives? It defies all logic.****
    At the most. At the most there are some low-level officials in Pakistan’s security apparatuses who chose to turn a blind eye toward some area under their surveillance.
    You, of all Indians here, should be able to rise above the din of this media trial. Indeed, carry on investigations as to the real reasons for this intelligence failure by the Pakistani intelligence agencies. But to quickly draw a conclusion that indeed ‘Pakistan’ or ‘ISI’ or ‘Military’ was ‘harboring’ OBL is not fair and does not serve the cause of peace in our region.
    It must be noted, again, that the so-called mourning of OBL is so limited in Pakistan that it must not be emphasized. What must be emphasized is that Pakistanis have taken OBL’s death in strides. ‘Good riddance’ is the national recourse. OBL brought the Arab conflicts to South Asia. That does not resonate much with Pakistanis. Most Pakistani don’t even speak Arabic. And its about time these Arab radicals with their Wahabbi version of religion goes back to Saudi Arabia.
    Anyway, I think we all need to not jump the gun and see how the events evolve. There is a lot going on behind the scene–this intelligence operation was but one of them. Also, media trial of Pakistan aside there are some very senior members of American Congress who too are stressing that we must wait and see what exactly happened.

  73. Sridhar says:
    May 5th, 2011 10:58 pm

    Meengla,

    I have not blamed the ordinary people of Pakistan even once. I don’t subscribe to the Fox News style of reporting either – in fact I consider it a disgrace that so many Americans watch and trust the trash that it dishes out. However, I do think that various levels of the organs of the Pakistan state establishment (and by that I largely mean the army and its agencies) have been complicit in terrorism over the years. Not everybody in these organizations is a terrorist sympathizer, but sufficient numbers and at sufficiently senior levels to make the organizations complicit. I have been consistent about this over the years. Also, I have stated this before – I think it is a case of senior people letting down an otherwise professional army, not junior people being complicit in this. The problem lies at the top – at the bottom, the Pakistan army is a fine institution.

    That said, there is going to be a media trial of unprecedented proportions over the near future about this issue, whether one likes it or not. The best way to respond to this, from a viewpoint of somebody like me who is sympathetic to the ordinary people of Pakistan – is to be honest and truthful. To question the top brass of the army who have led the country down this path to disaster. And to gain the initiative back from them. Easy to say and difficult to do, but I don’t see a better alternative.

  74. Meengla says:
    May 5th, 2011 11:32 pm

    @Sridhar,
    Nice sentiments. But of course you, like most other, do not ‘blame the ordinary citizens’. When do you guys ever do that? When does anyone ever does that, any where in the world?
    However, you have not provided an iota of proof or any convincing arguments at all that the institutions of Pakistan per se were involved in protecting a scum like OBL. Why, because you can’t. If something defies all logic then it is extremely hard to prove it–however noise may be made about it in the ‘media’.

    And, yes, the media has blown an intelligence failure or, at most, a complicity of probably a few officials into a debate about the role of the Pakistani military, the ISI, and indeed the Pakistani nation itself. That is most unfair, especially considering that the Pakistani agencies themselves have been targeted ruthlessly and that most of the Al Qaida terrorists have been apprehended and handed over by the Pakistani agencies themselves.

    As I said, you could conceivably have an argument that Pakistanis have protected ‘terrorists’ who target India. Some other Pakistani–more jingoistic than me–is going to come here and give ‘valid, authentic’ accounts of Indian ‘State Terrorism’ in Kashmir to justify why Pakistan uses those ‘terrorists’ against India. We will go around and around in circles.

    That still does not make it logical at all that Pakistan would protect the scums of Al Qaida whose primary target is Americans and the West. That would be a national suicide for Pakistan to do so. India is India and America is America, in the eyes of Pakistani generals.

    In the end, peace in our region–including in Afghanistan–leads through peace in Kashmir. Afghanis are suffering in yet another proxy war. And, I, as a person of Pakistani origin, now say that let’s turn LOC=International Border and make peace with India and move on. Kashmir is not worth killing Pakistan for.

  75. Sridhar says:
    May 6th, 2011 12:01 am

    Far from not having an iota of evidence of the complicity of the Pakistan army in terrorism, there is reams of such evidence available in open source. Even more so after all the Wikileaks exposes. Unless we shut our eyes to it, it is hard to claim that there isn’t evidence. From the way in which the ISI tipped off OBL when Clinton launched tomahawk missiles against him, to the well-documented Kunduz airlift of key Al Qaeda personnel to Skardu, to the protection given to the Afghan Taliban (many of whose members are indistinguishable from the Al Qaeda) to more recent evidence (see the latest episode of the well-respected Frontline documentary show on PBS for instance), it has been clear for years.

    As to why the institutions of state would protect OBL over all these years, clearly he was the goose that laid the golden egg. The war on terrorism has been quite profitable for the Pakistan army and presumably at a personal level for many of the key people in the institution and this would not have been possible to the same extent if OBL had been captured/killed in 2001 itself. Yes, some important members of Al Qaeda were captured and handed over during the course of the last 10 years. But this has been pointed to as a calibrated strategy of handing over people, particularly renegade ones, and at strategic times (with almost all the arrests happening a day or two before a key visit by a senior American official). That this is the “hunt with the wolves” part of a “run with the hares and hunt with the wolves” strategy. That it allowed the PA to keep extracting money from the Americans and continue being referred to as an ally, even while keeping its “strategic assets” in Afghanistan largely intact.

  76. Meengla says:
    May 6th, 2011 12:27 am

    @Sridhar,
    Your thesis is still bogus if you think OBL was the goose which laid golden eggs for Pakistan. Someone more informed than me can come here and give you and the world a documented account of the fact that ‘despite the billions’ ‘given’ to Pakistan the WOT is a netloss for Pakistan in every single way possible. And in 1998–when supposedly official Pakistan had ‘tipped off’ OBL–Pakistan was under American sanctions. So much for the goose!
    You see: When you start with theories built-upon media speculation, even discounting the recent supportive statements by Kerry, Clinton, and Obama himself in Pakistan’s role–so you ARE going to pick up what you want to pick up. And you picked up Panetta instead of Clinton.
    Anyway, yes, I am not going to deny that Pakistan keeps its ‘assets’ in place to ‘bleed’ India anyway but Americans are an entirely different thing. Perhaps you will even deny efforts by Pakistan BEFORE 9/11 to press the Taliban retards to hand-over OBL to America.
    There have been plenty of intelligence failures in the history before and there will be more–not just in Pakistan. But you don’t go around starting war drums based on that.

  77. Sridhar says:
    May 6th, 2011 1:31 am

    Let’s leave it for history to decide whose “theories are bogus” as you put it. I only know that things I have been stating for years based on available evidence (and I am by no means alone in holding those views), and that people like you have denied, have come out to be largely true one by one. For years, there was complete denial that Pakistan was even involved with the anti-India terrorists. That has changed over time. The trial underway in the American courts of Rana and the plea bargain deal of Headley will further expose the direct complicity of the Pakistan state and its agencies in the 2010 Mumbai attacks over the next few weeks. And that will become part of accepted reality too. Similarly, the complicity with the Al Qaeda is already part of accepted reality, not media speculation as you put it, and will become even clearer over time. So let’s return here in a few years and see whose theories are bogus.

  78. Sridhar says:
    May 6th, 2011 1:37 am

    Oh, I didn’t respond to one thing in your post. The WOT has certainly been a net loss for Pakistan – I have no argument with that. But your assumption is that I was referring to gains for “Pakistan” when talking about Osama being the goose that laid the golden eggs. To the contrary, if you read what I wrote, I was referring to the fact that it was profitable for the Pakistan army and for individuals in it. One could even argue that gains to the army (and military more generally) have been negative as well, but what matters is whether those in control thought they were gains or not. In sum, what matters is not the reality of the gains and/or losses, but what those in decision making positions on these issues “thought” were gains.

  79. Shez says:
    May 6th, 2011 1:51 am

    Good to see a couple of regular and so-called sympathetic Indian readers being exposed. Every country has to protect its own interests and nothing is black and white in this world. Is America a clean country? Far from it. It has the blood of millions on its hands. And Pakistan has every right to protect its interests. The only problem is that some generals are so coward and self-centered that they don’t care about strategic interests and this creates problems for Pakistan.

    Everyone knows that India is playing a dirty game in Afghanistan and interfering in Balochistan. India has no lingual, geographical, cultural, religious, or ethnic ties to Afghanistan. More than half of Afghans are Pashtuns and Pakistan shares a long border with them besides having our own large Pashtun community. We have every right to protect our interests in Afghanistan. Every country does that and the s0-called upright people are either fools or are trying to hoodwink others.

    There are also more than one million Persian/Dari speakers in Pakistan, more than one-third of them being Pakistani nationals while the rest refugees. Pakistan and Afghanistan are inseparable. Unfortunately, some goons in Afghan government are harping on Indian string. Little do they know that it is Pakistan that provides the majority of Afghans sustenance. No country in the world has played host to 3 million refugees for 32 years. These refugees refuse to leave Pakistan. Some do under pressure from UNDP but return after a few months. The border is porous and will always remain one because of ethnic, lingual, and religious ties.

    It is high time that patriotic top brass of Pakistani establishment exposes the black sheep and take a tough stand. Americans can be reined in very easily and Indians have no place in Afghanistan in the first place. And we have to adopt a policy for Kashmir. I have no objections on Kashmiris gaining independence. They also want it as they are victims of decades of brutal repression and genocide at the hands of Indians.

    Only if some sane persons in the Pakistani establishment open their eyes and make sensible policies. We also need to re-engage with China. It is about time to turn this shameful episode into an opportunity. There will be many troubles if they miss this golden chance.

  80. Sridhar says:
    May 6th, 2011 2:19 am

    Meengla,

    I missed another thing – who is playing war drums? Nobody in their right minds wants a war. All that the world needs is some acceptance of the truth, and course correction for the future. By Pakistan, after realizing that such course correction is in its own long term interests, which I truly believe it is.

    As to the 1998 tip off to OBL when Clinton attacked the camps in Afghanistan, it is part of well-established fact by now. Even informed Pakistanis don’t deny it – the only point of speculation is what level of the ISI the tipoffs originated from. The same with the escape of OBL at Tora Bora.

    And by the way (since you mention it), it is now reasonably well known that the ISI chief (was it Gen Mahmud Hasan – I forget now) who is supposed to have travelled to Afghanistan asking the Taliban to hand over OBL in reality went to egg them on in their fight. This was the general removed from his post as DG-ISI under US pressure just before the US invasion of Afghanistan began. You could look up further accounts of his direct involvement with OBL and AQ almost until the eve of the US invasion of Afghanistan – I will not spend time on it here. Until the Taliban was dislodged, there was heavy presence of Pakistani military officials inside Afghanistan, serving as military advisers to the Taliban. Given the close involvement of the Al Qaeda with the Taliban, one doesn’t need to be too imaginative to see the links between the Pakistan military and Al Qaeda. The Kunduz airlift was meant to extricate these personnel – which is why the US looked away in order to not embarrass Pakistan.

  81. Asim says:
    May 6th, 2011 2:31 am

    Meengla and Sridhar…Can the two of you take your argument off line? i am getting really bored of what the two or you are saying within 15 secs of reading. Not sure who is saying what, but in my opinion, and we have all witnessed this on numerous occasions that Pakistan Army, Navy and Air force are good for killing lightly armed to unarmed human beings, thats all. We cannot expect them to do any more and shouldn’t. oh, but please do expect them to continue to take a vast share of our tax revenue to feed their worthless selves and boss around weak civilians.

    Pakistani retired army officers live far better lifestyle than most of the world’s armed forces leaders….any idea why?

  82. Ali Dada says:
    May 6th, 2011 5:17 am

    Its time we strengthen our Immigration policy ala Saudi Arabia – non Saudis simply cannot enter Saudi Arabia unless for strictly business reason or if they have a job in Saudi Arabia. I say shutdown all NGOs and deport all ‘tourists’ – decades ago Saudis realized that their country is for some reason a magnet for terrorists and nutcases and hence they don’t allow anybody in. We should do the same.

    We have hundreds of war aircraft – lets use them to guard our borders for a change (or hire Chinese pilots on contract if our Pakistani forces are cowards or incompetent)!

  83. Lubna says:
    May 6th, 2011 6:37 pm

    Excellent article.
    Pakistan needs to seriously reconsider what it is doing, including with and for the US.
    Lets start thinking of Pakistan’s interests now.

  84. Adnan says:
    May 6th, 2011 10:23 pm

    Obama Admin continue to make fool Americans and our Kalay Angrez living there and here. Another fake photo got exposed:

    twitpic.com/4u21s0

    For those who are “impressed” after seeing SITUATION ROOM picture and wondering what’s going on, allow me to say that either they are busy in playing BLACK OPS or watching STAR PLUS

  85. shahid says:
    May 7th, 2011 7:09 am

    Is OBL really dead or is he taken alive and will be tortured for rest of his life to extract information?

    It is possible for the Americans to actually stun OBL and fake an encounter that he is killed in the presence of OBL’s wife and children.

    For the same reasons the Americans did not take OBL’s wife as hostage who supposedly knows a lot about OBL’s plans.

    That is the reason the Americans can not give an authentic picture of the dead OBL

  86. Adnan says:
    May 7th, 2011 2:01 pm

    I think in Pakistan there are millions of Osama Bin Laden because like Osama they also despise the involvement of US in local issues and dragging Pakistan into war and stationing in Pakistani bases. Does it mean US gonnna kill millions of Pakistanis now? In modern world, anyone who opposes American involvement and go against Israel is a terrorist, so was OBL. I know liberals who are on payroll of Washington will always say that Pakistanis don’t support Osama but fact is that Osama was/is a symbolic representation of resistance against US in any country. Now if someone does not want to say dawn a dawn then one can only pity such person.

  87. Mohammed says:
    May 7th, 2011 8:47 pm

    Osama Bin Laden was not the only major terrorist sheltered in Pakistan. Even now, the following major terrorists are being sheltered and supported in Pakistan. Those intelligence, military and political leaders of Pakistan responsible for sheltering and supporting terrorists should be questioned and held responsible for their criminal actions.

    * Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Head Of Lashkar-e-Taiba who was responsible for the terrorist attacks in Bombay on 11/26/2008.
    * Dawood Ibrahim, the under-ground terrorist leader who was responsbile for multiple terrorist bomb attacks in Bombay on 3/12/1993.
    * Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin Haqqani, fundamentalist Taliban commanders of Haqqani network fighting Afghan and American forces.
    * Mullah Mohammed Omar, the head of Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime

    The fact that Osama Bin Laden was living close to Pakistan’s capital Islamabad adjacent to major military establishments shows that he had high level political and intelligence support in Pakistan. It has been reported that Osama Bin Laden had financed and supported the political campaigns of Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister of Pakistan and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, the current Chief Minister of Punjab in Pakistan. Sharif brothers and some elements of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency and military have covertly supported terrorist organizations like Lashkar-E-Taiba and Taliban in Pakistan.

    It is high time Pakistani people realise and defeat these sinister elements in their political, military and intelligence leadership who are destroying democratic, economic and educational development of Pakistani society, in order to benefit their own short sighted ambitions. Also, the role of leaders in Saudi Arabia and UAE who are financing and stoking fundamentalists in Pakistan and Afghanistan should be exposed and defeated.

  88. Adnan says:
    May 8th, 2011 11:32 am

    So this is OBL as said by Americans in recent video. LOL!

    news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/52602000/jpg/_52602375_binladen3.jpg

    Some Aqal ka Andha only can declare this guy OBL. It’s more looking they grabbed some Chokidar and asked him to watch OBL on TV

  89. humble pakistani says:
    May 8th, 2011 5:28 pm

    My very dear Precedent Barack HUSSAIN Obama Sir:

    I am giving you the wasta of the 3 weeks you stayed in Pakistan in your youngmanship and the years your honoured mother was here to stop gernalists or others like tv talkers give bad name to Pakistan. You are great friend of Pakistan if you know it or not and the whole nation is very admiring of you. I know you can stop this as in our land a simple patwari can stop any wagging tungues by a simple wave of his finger in no-no motion, but you are the king of the world so you can do anything. Only old king Clinton can steal lumlight from you and not even the matric pass (on third try) prince Gorge W. Bush. (This is a joke as I am full of it – jokes). You owe Pakistan this, since you ate our salt when you visited, and since you can cook Keema and Daal you should know all about importance of eating somebody’s salt. I hope very much you will not comitt salt-bastardisation (sorry for using bad word in this litter, but what choice do I have?).

    I am already dis appointed that you can’t say the word Abbottabad right even thou can say Pakistan very well indeed, sir. Abbottabad is named for a gora sahib Mr. Abbott so you should know to say his name, not that you are gora, since you look more like my friend faiz baloch. I request you again, humbly sir, to stop the bad name calling of Pakistan and I know you can do it as I am not a dum Texan – another joke, I told you I was full of it.

    Your great admirer and humble servant, sir

    A humble pakistani

  90. Nazish says:
    May 8th, 2011 9:53 pm

    Very well said.
    Too many questions hang here, both on the story from the US side and from the Pakistani side. I think neither side is telling it straight to each other or to their own people.

  91. Mohammed says:
    May 10th, 2011 2:16 pm

    Osama Bin Laden was not the only major terrorist sheltered in Pakistan. Even now, the following major terrorists are being sheltered and supported in Pakistan.

    * Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Head Of Lashkar-e-Taiba who was responsible for the terrorist attacks in Bombay on 11/26/2008 lives openly and recently gave public speech praising Osama Bin Laden.
    * Dawood Ibrahim, the under-ground terrorist leader who was responsible for multiple terrorist bomb attacks in Bombay on 3/12/1993 lives openly in Karachi and is even planning a lavish wedding for his son this month.
    * Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin Haqqani, fundamentalist Taliban commanders of Haqqani network fighting Afghan and American forces.
    * Mullah Mohammed Omar, the head of Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime.

    The fact that Osama Bin Laden was living close to Pakistan’s capital Islamabad adjacent to major military establishments shows that he had high level political and intelligence support in Pakistan. Those intelligence, military and political leaders of Pakistan responsible for sheltering and supporting terrorists should be questioned and held responsible for their criminal actions.

  92. nusrat says:
    May 11th, 2011 5:00 am

    i am an ethnic kashmiri muslim [shia; i mention this because in indian kashmir, as in pakistan, it matters...a lot] from india. i was 15 when terrorists,reared and fattened in pakistan, started crossing over into indian kashmir in 1988-89; as you may have heard or read, 80 – 100 thousand indians have died since and nearly half a million kashmiri hindus and muslims have been rendered refugees in their own country. to be fair most of the 80-100 thousand deaths occurred due to the heavy handed reaction to terrorism from india’s security forces.

    kashmir’s syncretic lifestyle, which had withstood even 1947′s ugly bloodletting, was torn to shreds – the entire hindu [pandit ] population of kashmir was ethnicallly cleansed from the land of their ancestors in a matter of months. more than 3000 year old kashmiri pandit culture was put on the fast track to oblivion in a matter of months in 1989 – thanks to pakistani government’s [civilians & military ] plan for making kashmir purely islamic, and then snatching from indian grasp, as if kashmir were a plaything in the indian “child’s” hands.
    two decades on india, while not ceding an inch, has become an important and influential member of global political, economic order, and as for pakistan……we all know and fear its trajectory all too well.

    i, among millions of like minded ethnic kashmiris, am heart broken over my state’s plight, for which i place the blame squarely on the shoulder’s of pakistani rulers of last two decades.

    i wrote the refresher above only to make the following point: compared to the hell unleashed by pakistani rulers in my homeland, kashmir, what india is purportedly doing in balochistan is a walk in the park.
    and to be honest, many kashmiris, who have lost their entire families – some to indian security forces, others to pakistan trained terrorists – would have preferred a more equitable response from their government.

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