Pak needs to come clean on Osama raid

Haqqani who did meet with the commission has always publicly criticised the attack.

Karachi: Whatever we may think or say about Husain Haqqani, he was not primarily responsible for the US assault in Abbottabad on the night of May 1 and 2, 2011. He denies he had anything to do with the planning and execution of the assault, and despite widely held reservations about his conduct as ambassador in Washington, nothing has surfaced that contradicts his denials. However, his recent statements do raise questions. In an article in the Washington Post, Haqqani states: “The relationships I forged with members of Obama’s campaign team ... eventually enabled the US to discover and eliminate Bin Laden without depending on Pakistan’s intelligence service or military which were suspected of sympathy toward Islamic militants.” He goes on to say: “Friends, I made from the Obama campaign, were able to ask, three years later, as National Security Council officials, for help in stationing US Special Operations and intelligence personnel on the ground in Pakistan. I brought the request directly to Pakistan’s civilian leaders, who approved…” and these Americans proved invaluable when Obama decided to carry out the operation without notifying Pakistan. Once again, there is an even stronger suggestion of an active role and a sense of pride in achieving a shared objective.

So? Pakistan was under an international obligation to cooperate in the apprehension of OBL. An elected government apparently decided to act upon this obligation. The leaders of this government instructed their ambassador in Washington accordingly. They also sent specific instructions to enable the ambassador to facilitate the rapid issue of necessary visas to US special operations and intelligence personnel — who obviously disguised their real identities in their visa applications — and who proved “invaluable” when the time for action came. What is wrong or illegal about this? And if there was anything, who should be held responsible: the subordinate ambassador or the elected leaders? But, then, why not stand up and say so — publicly as well as in testimony to the Abbottabad Inquiry Commission? In fact, the President, the PM and the COAS declined to meet with the commission. Haqqani who did meet with the commission has always publicly criticised the attack.

Despite some possible misstatements to the commission regarding the issue of visas, there has been no proof of his involvement until his suggestions in the article. Why is he simultaneously denying any involvement with the US assault and suggesting the contrary in his article? Whatever conclusions one may draw about the consistency and purpose of his statements and the credibility of his behaviour, they do not add up to treachery. He was, at most, a willing instrument of his political superiors. However, Haqqani has effectively pointed a finger towards his civilian leaders at the time. No wonder, they are calling for another commission of inquiry! The new Commission of Inquiry Act of 1956 will require the government to make such reports public within 30 days of submission. The Prime Minister, accordingly, should now release the reports. This matter, and not hounding Haqqani, should be our urgent priority.

By arrangement with Dawn

( Source : Columnist )
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