[Letters] Bin Laden: A bad way has a bad endOn May 2, the world’s most dreaded terrorist and Al Qaeda chief, Osama bin Laden, was killed in ‘Operation Geronimo’ by U.S. forces in Abbottabad, near Islamabad. This ultra modern commando action seems to have sent Bin Laden to his desired destination of Jannat (Heaven).
The U.S. Navy SEAL Commandos struck a big and safe house in Abbottabad, some 60-kms (37 miles) away from the Pakistani Capital Islamabad. This safe haven of Osama was just at a stone throw away from the Pakistan Military Academy. Pakistan has no explanation for this “intelligence failure.”
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that this was “the failure of intelligence in the world, not just in Pakistan but in the United States as well.” How much logic does this statement of the Prime Minister hold?
While Bin Laden’s killing is being considered as a milestone in the combat against terrorism, his presence in Pakistan and America’s unilateral decision to act without informing Pakistan raises many serious questions. Pakistan now owes to the world the explanation how Osama was staying protected on its soil for such a long time?
When faced with queries about the whereabouts of Osama, the Pakistani premier, home minister and army chief all used to claim that he was not in Pakistan. In the guise of this blunt lie, Osama was living safely in a military hideaway near the capital.
However, the end of this enemy of mankind was imminent. The U.S., without informing its “strategic partner” Pakistan and by dodging its radar systems, flew in four combat helicopters from a military base in Afghanistan, executed ‘Operation Geronimo’ in Abbottabad within 40 minutes and took Osama’s body back to Afghanistan.
A DNA test was conducted to ensure that the corpse was Bin Laden. Then he was ‘buried in the Arabian Sea in accordance with Islamic traditions.’ This unilateral action by the U.S. didn’t go down well with Pakistan.
Now the Pakistani government has warned the world, and the U.S., that any violation of its sovereignty in future will not be tolerated. Even though this was the first operation by the U.S. near the capital, it is already carrying out regular drone attacks on Afghani-Pakistan border areas.
American Attorney General Eric Holder has defended the operation by saying “the operation was justified as an act of national self-defence.” According to him, Bin Laden already had an escape plan from this luxury hideout. American sources opined that sharing the information on this operation with Pakistan could have helped Osama escape, therefore it was kept top secret.
The U.S. was so bent on catching Osama, dead or alive, that it had readied its fighter jets across the border in Afghanistan to handle any possible counterattack by Pakistani forces. While the Navy SEALs were busy with ‘Operation Geronimo’ in Abbottabad, President Obama, along with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the CIA chief and other high-ranking officials, were watching the operation live.
Pakistan has been criticized and condemned by the world again and again for nurturing and protecting terrorists and their ideologies. Now the world can no more digest its stand that “Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism.” Prime Minister Gilani has said that Pakistan alone cannot fight terror and needs “the support of the entire world to combat militants.”
Pakistan should at least put aside its claim of sovereignty and crush the terrorist training camps and hideaways within its borders, with the active support of the US and India.
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Tanveer Jafri, a columnist based in India
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