It’s not like I choose to always write when the president goes missing but as luck would have it, those are the only times worth speaking out. Where I have often called for the president and prime minister - sometimes receiving a not-so-supportive response – this time I believe my call is completely legit. After all, Osama bin Laden was killed (at least that’s what the Americans said).
But first, I’ll focus on our ‘allies’ a bit. As President Obama started talking about how that “bright September day was darkened”, American people began rejoicing and the scenes of celebration were similar to those I witnessed on St.Patrick’s Day while in university – except, instead of green accessories, there was a whole lot of stripes and stars involved here.
But that’s okay. Why shouldn’t the Americans celebrate? After all, nearly 3,000 of them were killed because of this man and his network – it only made sense to run outside the White House with the US flag wrapped around their heads.
Did they for a second stop and ask for proof? No why would they, Obama saved the day (and his votes) – that’s all that mattered. I wish us Pakistanis had that kind of blind trust on our leaders’ statements. I mean think back to Hakimullah Mehsud – Interior Minister Rehman Malik killed him a couple of times and once even created his twin in Afghanistan… so I guess it’s only natural for us not to believe anything coming out of our leadership (the fact that they didn’t say anything at all yesterday, is a different story). But wait, why don’t think the Americans think Iraq for a second. WMD anyone? And even Afghanistan? A decade there and still the most wanted man was found in Pakistan’s backyard. Oops? Doesn’t the US public want to question anything? Or was “DNA confirms Osama dead” enough? He was the most wanted man in the world, responsible for the death of thousands! And what did the US forces do? Secretly kill him and dump him in the sea. Seriously? As Obama was promising brighter days ahead, no one seemed to be concerned with ‘what next’, because we all do know that this ‘war’ is far being over.
Osama has been killed several times over the years, however, this time was different because we actually had visual proof….. of the ‘mansion’….the helicopter….the blood-stained floors…. Yes, that should be enough now to know that this time he really was killed.
Assuming there are no loopholes in the US’ great hunt story and going by what supposedly happened yesterday, fact remains that Osama was killed in Pakistan. Not a cave in some tribal border area but right here in Abbottabad. Obama spoke at around 8:30 am local time. Shortly after, Afghan President Karzai came out and said something which pretty much sounded like ‘it wasn’t me … it wasn’t me’ and then the Indians seized the opportunity and spoke along the lines of ‘told you so… told you so’ – so basically everyone got their turn at riding the Bash Pakistan bandwagon. And for good reason of course, yes, yes, no denying we do support terrorists, quite right.
So here comes my favourite part, while Osama was dying and Obama was doing the happy dance, where were you Pakistani leaders? Haven’t you embarrassed us enough already? Until about 12:00pm yesterday, there was no word from Pakistan – shortly after noon, the Foreign Office woke up and had some nice bits and pieces of information to share. Still no Gilani. No Zardari. No Kayani. No Pasha.
Somewhere in the afternoon (after a nice sleep-in perhaps) Prime Minister Gilani came out only to say ‘errr, I don’t have any details yet…’. Okay then. Why didn’t we have any details when Obama specifically in his address mentioned that this couldn’t have been achieved without Pakistan’s ‘cooperation’? And what about Pakistan’s mainstream media? Normally we are quick to jump and question everything but this time, our televisions ran tickers of statements coming in from the US while the local headlines focused on PML-Q’s oath-taking at 7:00pm. And then of course there were clips of the ‘mansion’ and the blood-stained floors inside. Where were all your hard-hitting questions Pakistani media – or do you only reserve those for our own leadership?
The US has a lot to answer but so far they have been giving us a great story, but what about our own government and establishment? We have nothing to celebrate for. We cannot take out our flags and run across the country because chances are some suicide bomber somewhere will mar that celebration anyway. Instead, we have a lot to worry about now (once again assuming Osama was killed yesterday). The al Qaeda backlash, the ISI’s supposed intelligence failure, the Pakistani leadership’s silence and the media’s confusion. As for the world hating us a bit more, I don’t think that’ll be a real problem – those who need to get their tickets out of here, normally do manage to find a way to do so anyway. For those of us who are stuck here meanwhile, ask questions. Ask why Osama was there, why no one knew, how the US knew, why we stayed silent and most of all, why do we never ever cease to disappoint ourselves.
As an after thought, also do ask why more than anyone else failing or insulting us, it is our own security establishment that takes the cake each time.
Shyema Sajjad is the Deputy Editor at Dawn.com