Apt and forceful

For a nation that is down in the dumps over the government’s failure to check the US violation of the country’s sovereignty, it was refreshing to hear both COAS General Kayani and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir assert, in unequivocal terms, on Wednesday that any such attempt emanating from any source whatsoever in future would have serious and far-reaching implications. It is worth recalling that this is the second time that the US had committed a violation of such grave dimension. Earlier, as General Zinni writes in his book, he had come to Pakistan to be with then COAS General Karamat at the time US cruise missiles were to cross over Pakistan to hit Taliban targets in Afghanistan, so as to assure him that they were not the Indians’. Missing the target, one missile had fallen on this side of the border and killed 23 of our citizens. Pakistan is no banana republic, and the US have realise, in the interest of friendly relations with Pakistan, the consequences of hitting a nuclear power.

General Kayani, who was chairing a corps commanders’ conference held to deliberate on the Osama episode, in all its aspects, warned that a similar violation by the US would warrant a review of our military and intelligence cooperation with it. The Foreign Secretary, talking of “a lot of bravado in our region (an obvious reference to the Indian army chief’s remark that they were capable of duplicating the US action)”, made no bones about telling General V. K. Singh of “a terrible catastrophe” that would attend such a move. About the virtual derision, with which ISI’s “incompetence” to trace bin Laden, is being treated by certain American officials and the media, he reminded them that the US government as well as the CIA did not have any information about those who were ultimately responsible for 9/11. However, both Pakistani officials maintained that the lead to the Abbottabad compound was given by Pakistan. The corps commanders were also informed that, afterwards, the CIA did not share further developments with the ISI, ‘contrary to the existing practice between the two countries’.

That shows that the US could, perhaps, have never found out the whereabouts of bin Laden, had Islamabad not given the crucial clue. To rebut the charge of complicity with Al-Qaeda, the Americans were rightly reminded that around 100 top Al-Qaeda leaders had been killed or arrested by the ISI. The truth is that in its pursuit of terrorists Pakistan had suffered the most, both in terms of loss of life and to the economy – Nation