The visiting Pakistani prime minister tries to clear the fog over the secret of Osama Bin Laden. Imran’s acknowledgment about Osama hiding is part of Pakistan’s new game of deception. The US and others must not be taken in by such red herrings.…writes Rafeek Ravuther
Finally, the secret is out. It is not the Pakistani doctor who tipped the US about Osama, but the state’s intelligence agency – Inter-Service Intelligence! Pakistan has until now officially denied having any knowledge of the terror chief until he was shot dead in a night-time raid by US special forces on May 2, 2011, an incident that was a major national embarrassment and caused ties between the two countries to plummet.
Khan in an interview with Fox News when he was asked whether his country would release a jailed Dr Shakeel Afrid whose fake immunization drive helped the US track and kill bin Laden in 2011.
“This is a very emotive issue, because Shakeel Afridi in Pakistan is considered a spy,” he told host Bret Baier. “We in Pakistan always felt that we were an ally of the US and if we had been given the information about Osama bin Laden, we should have taken him out.”
Baier then asked if Khan understood the skepticism around the Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI) for leaking key information, to which Khan replied:
“And yet it was ISI that gave the information which led to the location of Osama bin Laden.
“If you ask CIA it was ISI which gave the initial location through the phone connection.”
This first time public acknowledgment of Pakistan’s role in in the Osama bin Laden affair by a sitting prime minister is merely a desperate, and lame, ploy to hoodwink the international community on its terrorist links. Now that Pak’s terrorist profile has become widely known and accepted, the new leadership is trying to make the world believe that it is turning a new leaf in its dealings with terrorist groups.
But that is far from truth. A look at the Bin Laden affair is a clear evidence of Pakistan’s support for terrorist groups and its cat-and-mouse game with the international community on the issue of terrorism. It is a matter of record that OBL was found hiding in a palatial house in the garrison town of Abbottabad, not far from the elite Pakistan Military Academy. When the US Special Forces landed there and killed him, Pakistan was quick to deny any knowledge of the former al Qaeda leader.
The Army especially went on an overdrive to prove that it was unaware of either the US operations or the presence of the world’s `most wanted terrorist`. On both counts, the then Army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani should have resigned—first for letting his country’s sovereignty violated by a foreign force and second for harbouring a terrorist who was hunted by the world, including his own force. Several military and para-military personnel, including officers, had lost their lives in the fake `war on terror` launched by Pakistan Army. But Kayani remained intact, holding on to his chair and the silence among the rank and file of the force, and the media, was ominous.
Why would the army and the entire Pakistani elite go to all lengths to cover up the Bin Laden’s faux pas? The answer was not complicated. Bin Laden was a `state` guest and was given all assistance to live `peacefully` under the protection of the army. Why would he choose to live in Abbottabad, a military town where it was impossible to live without the army knowing about him? He could have chosen any remote town in the tribal areas for his sanctuary. The US was equally aware of this `arrangement` and hence the reason why its Special Forces could carry out such a `smooth` and `bloodless` operation in an `enemy ` territory, at its own convenience.
The Bin Laden story is not an exception but a more `sensational` example of Pakistan’s terrorist credentials. Pakistan for long been promoting terrorism not only in the region but also in the world. While it was promoting terrorism, it also managed to deceive the international community into believing that it was not doing so. The US and other countries went along the way, knowing full well the deception, all for the sake of petty games of the Cold War. Pakistan took advantage of this blindside of the West and sowed the seeds of terrorism while reaping bags of dollars in return.
If only Pakistan had been punished for its intransigence years ago, there would have been no 9/11, no 26/11, and al Qaeda could have been destroyed in a short time and the birth of ISIS would have been aborted. But Pakistan was allowed not only to create terrorist infrastructures but also to acquire nuclear capability despite several responsible officials in the US and other patron countries flagging a clear warning.
The situation is the same today. Pakistan is out to exploit the US-China conflict. It has allowed China to walk into its territory, set up shop, in another round of deceitful games. It has not destroyed or dismantled terrorist groups and their infrastructure. Terrorist groups like LeT, JeM, the Taliban and the Haqqani Network are still intact. These groups, especially the LeT, is thriving in the mainland of Pakistan with the army and the civilian leadership actively protecting and promoting the leadership of the terrorist group and its activities. The JeM has anchored deep in the area bordering India. The Taliban and various other terrorist groups active in the areas bordering Afghanistan have gained strength in the last few years.
On top of it, both China and Pakistan are nuclear allies, and have been known to barter technologies which otherwise would have been difficult for either of the countries to acquire. It is well documented that Pakistan has been a convenient conduit for China, and its ally North Korea, to build their nuclear capability. The West held its hand despite mounting evidence of this unholy nexus.
The Osama Bin Laden acknowledgement is part of Pakistan’s new game of deception. The US and others must not be taken in by such red herrings.