In an appearance on ABC channel’s This Week program Sunday morning, the Pakistani ambassador to the US pointed out that it is unfair to say that bin Laden was allowed to be in Pakistan and made it clear that the al Qaeda chief “just happened to be there.” – File Photo

WASHINGTON: Intelligence authorities have rounded up more than 30 people and questioned several others as part of the Abbottabad probe, Islamabad’s ambassador in Washington Husain Haqqani said Sunday.

Haqqani revealed that Pakistani intelligence detained or questioned several people to identify members of eliminated al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s support network.

“Even if some people were arrested for collaborating with a foreign intelligence service, that would not be different from the United States arresting Jonathan Pollard for spying on behalf of America’s friend Israel. Allies share intelligence. They should not be found conducting espionage on one another,” he wrote in special article, put on the CNN website.

The envoy argued that the bin Laden episode is a moment of introspection for both Pakistan and the United States.

In an appearance on ABC channel’s This Week program Sunday morning, the ambassador pointed out that it is unfair to say that bin Laden was allowed to be in Pakistan and made it clear that the al Qaeda chief “just happened to be there.”

“It is now time for all of us to take a deep breath and objectively evaluate the realities of the relationship between America and Pakistan in a way that furthers our shared goals and objectives.”

The ambassador said that al Qaeda is a common enemy for both the US and Pakistan. The arrest of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, he added, is a top priority, and Pakistan will assist the United States in capturing the militant leader.

“The fear that the United States will desert Pakistan once again, as it did at the end of the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan in 1989, is widespread.”

“America asks whether Pakistan is an ally and can be trusted. And of course, the same questions are being asked about the United States in Pakistan.”

Pakistan has paid an enormous price in its fight against extremism and terrorism: 35,000 civilians killed, more Pakistani soldiers lost than all of Nato combined, 2000 police dead, the assassination of our leader Benazir Bhutto and massive losses to our economy in investment, trade and infrastructure, he wrote.

“We appreciate America’s help, but the notion that America has ‘given’ Pakistan $20 billion since 9/11 needs to be seen in context. About $12 billion of this figure is Coalition Support Funds, reimbursements for expenses incurred by Pakistan in counterterrorism operations. They covered the cost of the fuel, ordnance, training and execution of counterterrorist operations.

“The blood, sweat, effort, grit and guts are those of a Pakistan that bears the brunt of the battle against terrorism, a battle clearly in the national security interests of the United States.”