We are dazzled by their propensity to spring surprises and their ability to gain the diplomatic advantage. We are speaking, of course, of the Pakistani army and the ISI. But recent events show that we were wrong. The poor lads are as clueless as our spooks are and the army could not find a jihadi if he jumped up and bit the boys in fatigues in the rear. Osama bin Laden was able to skulk around Abbottabad, a stone’s throw from the cantonment, and Pakistan’s military had no idea that he was communicating to the outside world via two couriers.
It is possible that soldiers spotted the two coming and going from the home of Osama. The cantonment commander may well have asked his deputy, “Ahmed, am I imagining it or are these two johnnies constantly making trips to that white house in the distance and bringing in large sacks of stuff?” To which Ahmed must have replied, “Oh, those are my cousins twice removed, poor relatives you see, and they are repairing the house which has had a severe attack of termites. The sacks you mention are cement and bicarbonate of soda.” The commander may then have wondered. “I could swear I saw a very tall man on the balcony the other day.” “That, sir, was one cousin standing on the other’s shoulders to reach the outer awning which has been affected by damp.” Old Osama was even nabbed by the traffic police but was able to convince them that he was just a man caught in the wrong place.
So, if a ticking parcel turns up at your door courtesy the ISI, don’t panic. It is only an ornamental clock, a gift of appreciation for your efforts at better neighbourly ties.