This was posted by Dawn.com as a blogpost on May 4, 2011. Posting here unedited / uncensored version of the piece
“Geronimo EKIA” – the words that caused jubilation in America on May 1, 2011, left most of Pakistanis shocked and confused. Barak Obama pronounced Osama Bin Laden (OBL) dead in a brief speech he made to the American people. Geronimo – the code name given to OBL after the Apache warrior who fought with México and America for many decades in Apache Wars and was captured with great difficulty in 19th century. EKIA is the contraction for Enemy Killed In Action. And that was the enemy number one of America as was defined in the objectives of war on terror.
The ‘action’ referred to in EKIA happened on Pakistani ground in Abottabad and hour and a half drive from the capital Islamabad. After around 48 hours of the operation, there’s still a conspicuous mum from authorities in Pakistan except a shadily phrased statement from Foreign Office. Media went bonkers as the news broke and remains in that condition ever since.
There seems to be a deliberate attempt from Pakistan’s intelligentsia to direct the flow of questions to a direction that saves military establishment and the intelligence machinery of the country, of answering more important and key questions. Capturing and killing OBM on Pakistan’s land is not as simple for Pakistan as it might seem to few. If it is sovereignty of this country that is bothering small time politicians with no popular representation, they must ask themselves where the sovereignty comes from? Does it come from the geographical boundaries alone or the integrity, reliability and uprightness too?
Watching countless TV talk shows in private channels, one feels a little more than nausea. Almost all of them, on May 2, seemed to be completely lopsided in terms of having a panel from one particular point of view. The anchors behaved like political leaders who would humiliate the politicians for this ‘insult’ USA has inflicted on Pakistan by violating boundaries. Oddly, all the channels only reached out to the ‘politicians’ who have no or little electoral bank and absolutely no parliamentary presence. The overwhelming narrative that engulfed media, remained focus on ghairat (honour) and the way USA has violated Pakistan’s sovereignty in its ‘imperial arrogance’.
Little did anyone on these pulpits tried to recall that Mr. Ben Laden was anything but a law-abiding citizen of Pakistan. The biggest question regarding Pakistan’s sovereignty comes from Osama’s presence in Pakistan. How was he, along with a dozen children and two wives, given entry to Pakistan? Did he fake a passport? Or was given an entry without the documents? Since there’s some evidence of his being here for more than five years now, one is justified to ask the secret agencies responsible for scrutinizing visa applications, how this ‘irregular’ visa was granted to OBL and family? Please note, our ghairat media still accuses Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to USA, for issuing ‘irregular’ visas without the approval of intelligence agencies.
A pearl of wisdom that came from Imran Khan shared by Marvi Memon – MNA from the coalition partner PML-Q – yesterday was the implications of letting OBL killed by America were very serious and that Pakistanis would be the victim of more terrorism whether in Pakistan or in middle east. In the same breath both of them accused the government of being completely clueless about the operation about which USA didn’t let them know, thus violated Pakistan’s sovereignty. What they fail to answer is the mother of all questions. How come Pakistan’s military – fighting terrorists in South Wazirastan – and intelligence agencies missed this prime target for so many years? An ordinary Pakistani cannot buy, sell or rent a piece of land or a one-room quarter even, without presenting her/his identification. Who owned and built the compound in Abottabad?
“This was a security breach no doubt” were the words of a veteran columnist from Pakistan while talking to NDTV, an Indian tv channel. Well, its quite generous on those responsible for Pakistan’s security, but the question remains, if such an important target could hide in plain, naked-eye sight of Pakistan Army, can this army be trusted for the securing Pakistan’s borders? If Pakistan’s security and intelligence agencies have been too busy in settling scores with renegade journalists, assaulting people’s homes for anticipated information and tapping politicians’ communication, to keep an eye on their own breeding center – the academy where they are producing their officers to be.
One possibility can be that ISI did not know about OBL living under their nose. This puts huge doubts on the capability of one of the most expensively kept security agencies in the region. Second possibility, most likely, is that OBL was probably supported by some of the sections of ISI. Again, if the internal dynamics of this huge organization are not manageable by its military command, is there any reason why this agency must not be provided with such big finances and consummate power to move and shake not only Pakistan, but also most of the world? Third possibility is that ISI took this strategic decision to support OBL for safeguarding much trumpeted ‘national interest’. Are we justified to know in what circumstances this decision was taken? Who approved it and what national interest did it serve? Any of the three scenarios do not look good for ISI.
Based on the hopeless failure and the huge embarrassment this episode has brought to Pakistan, may we demand immediate sacking of highest leadership of not only the responsible intelligence agencies, but armed forces also? If four helicopters could enter country’s boundaries anytime without any check, and complete their operation in 40 long minutes without any interference from Pakistani forces, how are we going to trust this hugely financed army? Where is the justification of 18% raise in defense budget even this year? Why is our highly moral media not asking these questions internally rather than getting on ‘imperial arrogance’? The imperial design, if any, would not have been there had we been behaving responsibly. As a responsible nation and the state, we should have never allowed any kind of terrorism to get harboured on our ground. No terrorist of whatever scale should be allowed to have safe haven in this Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The most disturbed souls in the wake of OBL killing in Pakistan, including Imran Khan, Marvi Memon, Ansar Abbasi, Hamid Mir, Talat Hussain, Kashif Abbasi, Kamran Khan and the likes (there are many), my request would be to kindly use the brains for the sake of this fateful country and its people. Are they saying that we should have kept on supporting Osama in hiding? Hiding, in this case, would have meant an unchallenged lease of life to the terror tsar with resultant strength and sense of supremacy to all his ground forces throughout the world who have been on a killing spree for last decade. Confusing people in selfish pursuit of your banal opportunism would only drive the country towards further depth of disgrace, if there’s still more down there.