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Was Pakistan really not aware of Op?

world Updated: May 04, 2011 02:11 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
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As Pakistan Army personnel pick up the pieces of helicopter debris in and around what was once the home of Osama bin Ladin, others are sifting through the gaps in Pakistan's massive intelligence machine which allowed for one of the world's most wanted men to live in the heart of an army town undetected for several years.

A report in the Daily Dawn newspaper says that the Pakistan Army is finding refuge in the excuse of an intelligence failure. What is tragically comical, says the paper, is that Osama's house was a stone's throw from the Pakistan Military Academy where only a week back the army chief, General Kayani, had said that the back of militants had been broken.

Many wonder why a massive house with fortified walls and fences as well as close circuit cameras was allowed to remain undetected.

Daily Dawn reported,"ISAF Commander Gen Petraeus paid an extraordinary visit to Islamabad last Monday (April 25) when he is said to have had a short and crisp meeting with General Kayani ...”.

The two generals are even said to have taken a short trip to an undisclosed location on board an aircraft.

There is a hint that Pakistan's intelligence agencies knew all along where Osama was hiding, but so far no one has said that publicly. The same view is being held for Mullah Omar, who is believed to be hiding somewhere in Quetta. "If Osama's location is anything to go by, possibly Mullah Omar is also sitting in some massive house in the centre of a city in Pakistan," commented one analyst.

The other worry is whether the Pakistan Army was on board and to what extent it facilitated the American special forces in their raid on the compound. Not only were the American helicopters allowed to enter Pakistan airspace, but there was air support provided by the US and Pakistani air force as the operation was being conducted, reports the local media.

The silence of the government and the military has rankled many, even as Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said the that raid deep inside his country was "not a joint operation." At the same time, the lack of anger from mainstream Pakistanis seemed to be a surprise for many as there was an expectation that the country would be enveloped by protests and rioting on the death of Bin Ladin. Apart from a peaceful protest in Quetta, there was no other such activity.up to it. It is expected that answers to these questions may not be given for some time to come.