While the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has unofficially apologised for what its says was an intelligence failure on its part, allegations that it was aware of the presence of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad are causing tensions between the military and political leadership of the country.
There are fears of a fallout between President Zardari and army chief General Kayani. Zardari has privately blamed the military leadership of playing a double game, say insiders.
The ISI for its part wants to protest its innocence. An unnamed ISI spokesman said on Tuesday that the agency apologised for its intelligence lapse and an inquiry would be initiated. But there are increasing allegations that the ISI knew of the presence of Bin Laden and this has become a major headache for Zardari’s government which seems to have been caught unaware.
Prime Minister Gilani, who was on a state visit to France, has cut his trip short and will be returning to Islamabad on Thursday, as the political crisis looms. Gilani told reporters in France that spy agencies around the world share the blame for his country’s failure to capture the al Qaeda leader.
Gilani said in Paris, “There is intelligence failure of the whole world, not Pakistan alone.
At home, the capital is rife with rumours that the military will move in to save itself from being held accountable by the civilian government. There was panic in Islamabad on Tuesday when the 111 Corps started a movement into the capital ostensibly to beef up security. But the army has allayed fears and said it was moving troops as a precautionary measure.
What is more worrisome is the links of different militant groups that are surfacing as investigations continue, say some officials. The ownership of the house in which Osama Bin Ladin resided is said to be up for question.
Also under scrutiny seems to the role played by different militant organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba (Jamat-ud-dawah) in facilitating al Qaeda operatives under different guises.