Dawn News

OBL in Pakistan

IF the discovery of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad wasn’t embarrassing enough, there is now even more reason for Pakistan to take a long, hard look at its record against terrorism. In news that confirms what the world had long suspected, an official Pakistani investigation team has learnt from one of bin Laden’s wives that he had been in Pakistan since 2002. For nine years the world’s most wanted terrorist survived in the country after fleeing the US attack on Tora Bora.

And he wasn’t confined to one place either. From Peshawar to Swat to Haripur to Abbottabad, the man responsible for the events of 9/11 somehow found shelter in Pakistan’s settled areas for months and, in some instances, years at a time. Meanwhile, Pakistani officials kept denying knowledge of his whereabouts, with Gen Musharraf claiming that he was either dead or in Afghanistan or the tribal areas. Is it possible that both civilian and military intelligence were unable to track down one of the world’s most recognised faces as he made his way from one Pakistani town to another? Or does this new information point to something more sinister? Who facilitated his movement and his stops, and were they ordinary citizens or members of law enforcement or intelligence agencies?

What is clear is that the judicial commission looking into his presence and the raid in Abbottabad can no longer limit its probe to those topics. In light of this investigation report, the commission now needs to expand its focus to encompass bin Laden’s presence in the country since 2002. This should include interviewing senior military, intelligence and police officials who served in the relevant areas at the time, including Gen Musharraf, under whose helm bin Laden first found passage into and shelter in this country.

At stake are several critical issues. For one, if Pakistani intelligence is really incompetent enough to have overlooked bin Laden’s presence for so long and in so many places, it is vital that the flaws in the system be identified and addressed. And if the failure had more to do with complicity than incompetence, it becomes even more important to discover how and why our institutions were penetrated, and at what levels. The commission’s delay in presenting its findings so far has already raised doubts about its freedom and independence, and the challenge it confronts just got bigger. How it addresses this breathtaking intelligence failure will be an indication of the seriousness, or lack thereof, of Pakistan’s commitment to combating terrorism, both for its own sake and that of the world’s security.


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Comments (17) Closed



malik
Mar 30, 2012 09:02am
One word. Complicity.
Abbas
Mar 30, 2012 12:00pm
CIA & rest of the world's Intelligence Agencies combined could not figure out the facts about so called WMD after searching for them day & night for decades. Active FBI Agent was living with one of the September 11 Highjackers for months but still FBI could not predict for what was about to come their way .... but some how Pakistani Intelligence Agencies should have found OBL in the country of millions while CIA had no clue about him when they knew some thing was going on in that compound in Abbotanad, wake up please.
anup
Mar 30, 2012 02:09pm
Complicity for sure
omar
Mar 30, 2012 03:51pm
If you ask Musharraf he will put the blame on RAW.
Waheed jan
Mar 30, 2012 08:05pm
The discovery of OBL in Pakistan should be a wake up call for its military establishment and political forces. It clearly shows that how we are incompetent to deal with the terrorists using our soul agaist the world.
Sandip
Mar 30, 2012 09:52pm
Musharraf certainly has a lot of explaining to do. He should no longer be allowed to hide behind bluster. He has taken the entire world for a ride, but more specifically the Pakistani people, for far too long. It's time that he is subjected to due course of law. There are too many threads going back to this man and each begs a thorough investigation.
Ashar
Mar 30, 2012 09:53pm
A brilliant reply indeed. I would just like to add that we are possible the only nation in the world which glorifies such events. Can anyone name any other country which has gloated about a shameful event with such fervour as we do? The world is hell bent on discrediting us in any way and there are plenty amongst us who are willing to give them the ammunition.
Shfiea
Mar 30, 2012 10:01pm
Right on the money, Abbas! I would add: 'jesay Allah rakhay ousay kaun chakhay' and 'jub tek OBL ka waqt tha woh zinda raha, jub waqt khatum hua to ousay koi nahein bacha saka'. Therefore, my faith rests on the 'Omni-Intelligent' and not on the '(human) intelligence agent'!
HA
Mar 30, 2012 10:18pm
How can you even buy this fictional story about OBL being found....in US the whole thing was shown as a James Bond movie where the bad guy was killed or caught by the elite forces or agents...this is not a movie. There are so many holes in the story. Its all a political game, media blinds the common man. And what about the sea burial, what was that. Thousands of innocent muslims are killed as collateral and their proper burial is ignored whereas the most wanted and hated person in the world is killed and it is made a point that a proper burial should be given. Give me a break. Even the navy seals supposedly involved in the operation give different accounts of the event. OBL died a long time ago and this stunt was kept in store for the right time. Funny how things are fed to media and how media plays its role in creating events that are based on pure political nonsense.
akhtar
Mar 30, 2012 10:31pm
Where is the proof ? My understanding is that he died in 2001/2002.
Ramesh Kumar
Mar 30, 2012 10:54pm
Pakistan's record in fighting terrorism! Now, that is a concept alien to the world community. LOL.
Quaid e Azam
Mar 30, 2012 11:12pm
The Pakistani Army and ISI should be held accountable for the games they is playing. We the Pakistani citizens, the damn civilians, need to stand up and demand answers. The army has zero accountability to us, and instead the generals live in houses that are worth millions of dollars. The armed forces are the biggest fraud in the country. They are not only subverting Pakistani people, destroying pillars of democracy, but also turned our natural brothers Afghanistan, Bangladeshi and even Indians into people who hate and despise our very existence. May Allah grant us the wisdom to see the truth through the fog, to stand up, and stand together.
Mustafa Razavi
Mar 31, 2012 01:27am
Isn't there a parliamentary commission still investigating if OBL was really in Abbotabad? Have the Americans offered any proof that they killed OBL in that raid? Displaying enemy's dead bodies as trophies goes way back in Anglo-Saxon history, why didn't they display OBL. In Iraq they even showed pictures of Saddam's 14 year old grandson.
sam
Mar 31, 2012 01:40am
it is simple, bush, the cis and the paksstianes did not want to find him. Oboma, ended it.. thanks. I know there was problems of taking him alive, but that would have been interesting to find out more of the story.. MAYBE, THEY DID NOT WANT TO KNOW THE WHOLE STORY. Now, the wifes,, children and all,,,,, only a second hand story.
Raspo
Mar 31, 2012 01:50am
For god sake mil establishment is not the scape goat what the cia n raw pay the media changes ur mind they r ur saviours
s.khan
Mar 31, 2012 08:15am
Pakistan has zero credibility. Everyone has drawn their own conclusion mostly of complicity. The commission is dragging its feet. Had they interviewed OBL's wives they could have learned of his stay since 2002. It is doubtful if the commission will come up with some revelations. It seems an attempt to whitewash this whole episode.
mike
Mar 31, 2012 05:25pm
at Abbas. Not sure what you saying. You are comparing "predicting" VS a crime that has been committed. And all ISI and Musharraf "searching" for him in Pakistan and claiming that he is not there. Time will tell...that Omar is also under the protection of ISI ...like many others including the mafia king from India. I forgot his name.