Osama’s end should end Pakistan’s evil designs

Egg on the face of Pakistan. Operation Geronimo had thrown foul egg kept secretly for the past one year. Now the evil state of Pakistan can’t deny that terrorists are staying on its soil. In fact it has been the breeding of terrorism for years. The ISI and political establishments although function divergently but convergences in terror matters. Especially the India matters  unites all wings of Pakistan.

Without catching red handedly, USA can do little against Pakistan. At this stage it is wise to use Pakistan with all attractions including a liberal funding and then end the evil designs promoted by the state and non state actors in Pakistan.

Christina Lamb writes in The Deccan Chronicle on 5 May 2011

Even those of us who did not believe that Osama bin Laden was producing his videos from a cave in a remote tribal mountain would never have guessed that he was, in fact, living in a “Come and Get Me” three-storey house surrounded by cabbage fields just down the road from Pakistan’s top military academy.

To many in Washington, here was final proof — if any were needed — that its supposed ally has been playing a double game; that, for the past 10 years, Pakistan has been playing the role of US ally (and taking more than $18 billion of American aid) while all the time sheltering the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

“The game is up”, a senior Pentagon official told me the day after Bin Laden’s killing, admitting he felt “a darned idiot” for being played for so long.

Last year I went for lunch in Abbottabad, Bin Laden’s adopted hometown, which nestles in green hills about 90 minutes’ drive from Islamabad. It is one of those pleasant former British military cantonments that in colonial times were known as hill stations.

I didn’t notice a large compound behind 12ft-high white walls that never threw out its rubbish and had no phone or Internet connection. I did notice, though, that the town was crawling with military. It houses the Pakistan Military Academy, and is a favourite location for retired generals.

Little wonder that John Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, says it was “inconceivable” that Bin Laden did not have a significant “support system” in Abbottabad. He did not need to say that the only organisation in Pakistan that could have supplied such support to Al Qaeda is its military intelligence, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Leon Panetta, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief, told congressmen in a closed-door briefing, “Either they (Pakistan) were involved or incompetent. Neither place is a good place to be”.

So far, Pakistan’s establishment seems to have gone for the latter. An unnamed ISI officer said they were “embarrassed” at having missed Bin Laden. This from an agency that follows every movement of every journalist that comes into the country; that has thousands of agents in taxis and hotel lobbies, tracking every foreigner who arrives.

The problem with this defence is that Bin Laden’s choice of hideaway fits a pattern. Every top Al Qaeda operative arrested in Pakistan has been living in a city, often in military areas. First there was Abu Zubaidah, Bin Laden’s chief recruiter, picked up from a villa in Faisalabad in March 2002.

Then in March 2003, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, was arrested from a house in a military cantonment in Rawalpindi, a mile down the road from Pakistan’s General Headquarters.

Why should any jihadi settle for a cave when Pakistani military neighbourhoods are so accommodating?
The truth, which has now become harder to ignore, is that Pakistan is the destination of choice for would-be terrorists.

It is home to a tangle of jihadi groups, initially formed with the intention of fighting in Kashmir. It is a land of training camps and safe houses, and of madrasas with their pools of potential recruits. A study by terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank of the New America Foundation has found that, of the serious terrorism plots or attacks against the West over the past seven years, 42 per cent had direction from jihadist groups in Pakistan and 52 per cent had training in Pakistan.

From the beginning, Pakistan’s double game has slowed Western progress in Afghanistan. The Taliban would never have recovered from being ousted in 2001 without their safe haven in the Pakistani town of Quetta. Those of us who went there to report on how the Taliban were openly regrouping and training found ourselves picked up by ISI (in my case at 2 am from my hotel room) and unceremoniously kicked out of the country.

After my deportation, the head of consular services at the British foreign office called me to his grand office in Whitehall to apologise at not having done anything to help. But, he said, “You have to understand we need Pakistan”. For a decade, the West has decided it was too much trouble to confront the problem — that it was easier, diplomatically, to turn a blind eye.

After Bin Laden’s capture, this is harder than ever. “We have to either grit our teeth, declare victory and move on — or declare war on Pakistan”, said a US official.

It looks as if the West wishes to grit its teeth yet again. For his part, Mr Brennan is focusing on what progress Pakistan has made. “It has captured and killed more terrorists inside its borders than any other country”, he says. “By a long way.”

Washington’s problem is that it still needs Pakistan’s help. According to Mr Brennan, a dozen of the top 20 Al Qaeda figures are still believed to be in Pakistan. Not to mention co-operation on possible plots being launched on the West.

Without Pakistan’s cooperation it would be hard for the American military to supply 140,000 Nato forces in landlocked Afghanistan. And of course who wants to take on a country that is estimated to have around 200 nuclear warheads? “We have all the leverage”, grinned a Pakistani officer I talked to in Rawalpindi last month.

But as the Bin Laden raid showed, the US does not always need Pakistan to go about its business. The mission was accomplished without informing Pakistani authorities, not even when Pakistan scrambled military jets to go after the intruder. This will encourage the powerful voices in Congress, who are arguing that support for Pakistan should stop.

Dana Rohrbacher, a Republican congressman from California who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee, told me, “Pakistan has literally been getting away with murder… We were snookered — for a long time we bought into this vision that Pakistan’s military was a moderate force and we were supporting moderates by supporting the military. In fact the military is in alliance with radical militants. Just because they shave their beards, drink whisky and look Western they fooled a lot of people”.

When Mr Panetta, the CIA chief, was interviewed by Time magazine this week, he said that “it was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardise the mission” because “they might alert the targets”. It is difficult to come any closer to accusing Pakistan of being in league with Al Qaeda. Opinion polls in Pakistan have long ranked America as a greater threat than Bin Laden.

Now the world’s most wanted terrorist has been found in Pakistani suburbia, it may indeed be the US that Pakistan has to fear.


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