Osama bin Laden. — File Photo
ISLAMABAD: Jehangir Ashraf Qazi, a member of the Abbottabad Commission, informed the Senate Committee on Defence on Thursday that the inquiry report carried by Al Jazeera last week was the first draft and not the final version submitted to the prime minister.
The final copy is said to be a watered down version of the leaked draft that was highly critical of the armed forces, particularly the ISI, not only for its failures, but also for stymieing the growth of civilian intelligence organisations.
The final report comes with a 40-page strongly worded note of dissent by Mr Qazi and observations on the note by commission’s Chairman Justice Javed Iqbal.
Mr Qazi was summoned by the Senate committee to testify in its in-camera session.
The committee also heard the views of Additional Secretary Defence Air Vice-Marshal Arshad Qudoos.
Mr Qazi and another member of the commission, retired Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed, separately scripted the initial drafts. The reconciled and final version was authored by Justice Iqbal.
The leaked copy was prepared in October last year, while the final report was presented on Jan 2 to then prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf by the chairman.
The committee was informed that differences had cropped up among the members over the issue of fixing responsibility after the preparation of the first drafts.
The chairman then had to come up with the “reconciled” copy. But Mr Qazi disagreed with the chairman over his alleged attempt to “play safe” in his findings and expressed his mind in his note of dissent.
The phrase “collective failure” was included in the report on the suggestion of Justice Iqbal who did not want any particular individual or institution to be blamed and suggested that all pillars of state shared the ignominy for having contributed in one way or another to the situation that culminated in the May 2 national embarrassment.
According to a statement issued by the Senate Committee’s Chairman, Mushahid Hussain Sayed, the members urged the government to make public in a formal and official manner the contents of the Abbottabad Commission report and place it before parliament for a debate.
Senator Sayed called for avoiding a blame game in the aftermath of the report and for focusing on correcting the mistakes of past.
“There should not be any blame game or finger pointing targeting individuals or institutions, rather the endeavour should be to examine the causes of what the commission has called was a collective failure and to ensure that wrongs are reversed so that such failures do not recur,” he said.
The committee that has been working on civil-military ties since last year decided to hold a public hearing on “Intelligence reform and re-organisation” soon after Eid.
Senator Sayed said the committee would give its own recommendations regarding national security and counter-terrorism strategy after thorough deliberation on the contents of the report.