By Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
Whilst Pakistan is being grilled for the presence of Osama Bin Laden (OBL) right under the nose of its prestigious military academy in Abbotabad, no one recalls US failure in stopping the tragic incident of 9/11, with its sophisticated information devices and world’s top class spying network in the form of CIA and FBI. Surely, 9/11 cannot be taken as an excuse for the lapse of information about the world’s most wanted man in Pakistan. However, the compound, which was in the use of OBL, was after all a civilian locality, and had there been Pakistani involvement, it could have been guarded or the target could not have been kept there for so many years or months as being claimed variously. As Pakistan could not have the wind of OBL, US could not have a single feeling of the Arab pilots who flew the US aircrafts to attack the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, a symbol of American national defence and security.
Now after killing of OBL by US Navy SEAL, without taking Pakistani authorities into confidence, there arise many questions about the mutual distrust between these two unequal allies. Until now, no one could have thought that such an operation would ever be undertaken on Pakistani soil without the prior permission or at least information of Pakistan. However, the repeated denial by the Pakistani defence authorities and Government of Pakistan has made the people to believe this unbelievable. Furthermore, the CIA Director, Leon Panetta, has made it absolutely clear that, CIA did not share the operational details with Pakistan, as it could have compromised the target.
Indeed, this statement is sufficient to weigh the level of trust US has on its junior partner; Pakistan, which has been used for the cause of latter throughout during its independent history. As per Pakistani Military officials, “it was the ISI which had initially provided a lead on Osama in the shape of cell phone details of his most trusted courier Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, which the CIA pursued and developed.” Unfortunately CIA did not share the details with ISI, and later upon getting confirmation decided to kill OBL, unilaterally, without taking ISI into confidence. This is perhaps the reward of the sacrifices of Pakistan gave in the form of over 33,000 killings of its people including a vast majority of security forces personnel. Besides, there are thousands who received injuries and disabilities as a result of bomb blasts, suicide attacks and other acts of terrorism, caused because of Pakistan’s blind support to US actions, in the so called US war on terror.
Mr Leon Panetta, while indicating his dismay over Pakistani intelligence setup, perhaps forgot that it was indeed, Pakistani intelligence “which for the want of American government tracked down, captured and handed over to US authorities some of the top leaders of al-Qaeda, like; Saudi-born Palestinian Abu Zubaida, Abu Faraj al-Libbi, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad. US could have remembered that none of these had committed any crime in Pakistan. Likewise, Pakistani intelligence setup played a very vital role in the investigation of the London bombings. In fact, Pakistan Army and Pakistani people are paying a price for helping Americans in catching America’s enemies, a war that had no concern with Pakistan? As a result of these ill conceived policies where Pak Army has been hunting the US enemies, America has today become a safer palace, but, Pakistan has become an unsafe country. Its people, security installations, defence personal police and the country’s streets, bazaars, and even shrines and mosques have became target of terrorists. Had there been attempts on the lives of US Presidents, its senior military leadership as it has happened in Pakistan. Therefore, like every ungrateful American, Mr Leon Panetta thought that, he too should express his inner before embarking onto another important assignment in the US hierarchy as a Secretary Defence.
Like every Pakistani, the top leadership of the country was also taken aback in the aftermath of the operation. Whereas the belated response of the Prime Minister is expected on May 9, 2011, in the National Assembly, the leadership of Pakistan Army gathered in GHQ on May 5, 2011 to ponder on its current strategy and future course of action. The Army Chief, General Kayani, has ordered an inquiry to find out the lapses in the surveillance of OBL and US helicopters flights leading to the successful operation by US Navy SEAL. General Kayani however, made it clear that, “any similar action, violating the sovereignty of Pakistan, will warrant a review on the level of military/intelligence cooperation with the US.” During the meeting of the Corps Commanders, it was reassured that, there is no possibility of any such like act against our nuclear arsenals. It is said that, “As regards the possibility of similar hostile action against our strategic assets, the forum reaffirmed that unlike an undefended civilian compound, our strategic assets are well protected and an elaborate defensive mechanism is in place.” Regarding the statement of Indian Army Chief, General V.K. Singh, Chief of Army Staff, categorically said that, “Any misadventure of this kind will be responded to very strongly. There should be no doubt about it.” Military top brass has also demanded the US to reduce its military personnel from the Pakistani soil.
Although upon the killing of OBL, US President Barack Obama said that this is “the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s efforts to defeat al-Qaeda.” But the question arises; whether; this death would end the Al-Qaeda’s global agenda and would the US so-called war on terror will also end. US may have a tactical benefit at least to give satisfaction to its domestic audience, who indeed had started questioning the authorities about indefinite engagement of its Armed Forces in Afghanistan. So far U.S has been receiving the coffins boxes of their loved one since 2001. U.S authorities have failed so far in giving the solid and logical proof of the OBL’s death. The authorities have yet not released any video or the photographs of the operations, making the event as suspicious.
Analysts believe that, the incident may give a kick start to Obama’s electioneering campaign, but, mature people of US would ask for a real evidence of OBL’s killing, failure to which, it may become embossment for the Obama Administration in the days to come. The people of Pakistan have lot of questions from the Government. The top most is; when would we be able to safeguard our sovereignty? Let us reassess our relationship with countries like US; that has used us for their purpose and then threw us in the dustbin of the history. Let there be an end to it and start thinking safeguarding our national interests and sovereignty, before it is too late.