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Reading between the lines

Updated May 04, 2011

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I am relieved that the world is rid of Osama Bin Laden, but in its wake comes severe criticism of Pakistan. Yes, Pakistan is being maligned and strangled by the US news media.

I sit here and wonder if Matt Lauer of NBC and Carol Fitzgerald of CNN, and their likes – devoid of common sense and logic and like most Americans, who have no international experience and are myopic in their opinion – represent the American mind stereotype spot on. Let me explain by starting from the very beginning of this story.

The big news broke; there was applause everywhere and rightly so. Crowds gathered at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington DC and at Ground Zero in New York. There was and is jubilation, tears of joy, high fives and a general sense of celebration. I understand that, bin Laden played havoc in the everyday lives of billions, he was overdue to leave, but how do educated and seasoned journalists accept the obvious story that is being told by the US government, and that is: ‘Pakistan was informed after the operation was done and once the helicopters were out of the Pakistani airspace.’ How is that even conceivable? That may be the official story, yes, but why are seasoned reporters not questioning it?

It is impossible to accept that all satellites were jammed and Pakistan, a nuclear power, was vulnerable to attack from all countries of the world for over 40 minutes. And if the satellites were operational then what about the reaction time; where were the armed forces?

The assumption by all is that Pakistan was unaware of the operation therefore could have easily supposed that it was an attack on its sovereign homeland and fired back, but it did not, why not? And where was the inept police who usually makes mistakes and shows up at inopportune times. No mistakes were made, no lives were lost, no neighbours were harmed, no hiccups, no hitches. That is good news but incomprehensible without Pakistan’s prior knowledge and ground support? Why is the world media not picking up on this is baffling.

The United States would seriously doubt the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear assets were the signals and communication systems so faulty, no hard questions have been asked on this obviously sensitive security issue.

Question: Why?

Answer: Because no such security issue exists.

It is our responsibility to insist that Pakistan was in the loop, because that is the very obvious truth. That is what I am telling my American friends while trying to explain the complexity of the country and situation.

Anyone who knows and understands Pakistan absolutely realises that the success of this covert mission was impossible without the help of Pakistan. And the reason the mission was unflawed was because there was air, ground and intelligence support by the Pakistanis. Plain and simple.

Hillary Clinton remarks on the death of Osama Bin Ladin, ‘Here at the State Department, we have worked to forge a worldwide anti-terror network.  We have drawn together the effort and energy of friends, partners, and allies on every continent.  Our partnerships, including our close cooperation with Pakistan, have helped put unprecedented pressure on al Qaeda and its leadership.  Continued cooperation will be just as important in the days ahead, because even as we mark this milestone.  Indeed, we must take this opportunity to renew our resolve and redouble our efforts.

‘In Pakistan we are committed to supporting the people and government as they defend their own democracy from violent extremism. Indeed, as the President said, bin Ladin had also declared war on Pakistan.  He had ordered the killings of many innocent Pakistani men, women, and children.  In recent years, the cooperation between our governments, militaries, and law enforcement agencies increased pressure on al Qaeda and the Taliban, and this progress must continue and we are committed to our partnership.’

And then there is Jim Carney, the White House Press Secretary who when speaking to the press on Tuesday morning insisted that the US is ‘working very hard on this important and complicated relationship’. Carney repeated that it was the ‘close cooperation with Pakistan that lead to the mountain of information that eventually routed to the operation on Sunday.’

Surprising is the arrogance of the US media and its refusal to look beyond the obvious, in much the same way as the conspiracy theorists who only look beyond the obvious. Somewhere in the middle of both these groups sit the moderate analyst who understands both points of view and can logically come to a sensible analysis of a complicated situation by reading between the lines and some historical perspective.

What should the Pakistani Americans do? I choose to read between the lines of Obama, Clinton, Carney and the other moderates, but that does not alleviate my dilemma or frustration. I want to defend Pakistan but it has to give me, and my fellow Pakistani Americans, a leg to stand on. I find myself in prosthesis yet again, back in an emotional rehab, carrying heavy baggage and learning to walk all over again.

Bisma Tirmizi is a writer based in Las Vegas

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.