Monday, April 22, 2024

Who is next after Osama?

Hamid Mir, Islamabad
Osama bin Laden is dead but many people still think he is not a loser. His death created more mistrust between his enemies. The al Qaeda clearly said many times before his death that all the allies of US were also his enemies. He openly announced Jihad against Pakistani rulers and Pakistan army many times but after his death it was proved that Pakistan is no more a trusted ally of US.
The CIA chief clearly said US did not inform Pakistan about the operation to hunt Osama bin Laden because it feared that the Pakistani authorities would alert him. A top Pakistani government official commented that the CIA chief’s statement is a “slap in the face of Pakistan army who lost more than 3,500 soldiers in last few years in war against Taliban and al Qaeda”.
Some pro-al Qaeda banned outfits in Pakistan are very happy at the humiliation of Pakistani security agencies by CIA. The leaders of these banned outfits were calling in media offices on Wednesday and they were saying that US will now steal your nuclear weapons and your security forces will do nothing. There was a general impression in common Pakistanis immediately after the Abbotabad operation that US killed Osama bin Ladin with the quiet support of Pakistan but the statement of the CIA chief forced Pakistani masses now to raise questions about the incompetence of their security forces.
Both US and Pakistani sources have confirmed that American helicopters entered Pakistani air space from Eastern Afghanistan and used sophisticated technology to jam the radar system of Pakistan but even then some top Pakistani military leaders came to know about the presence of some unknown helicopters around 12:30 in the night of Sunday. A security official reached the spot in Hashmi colony around one in the night when the action was going on. He thought it was some Pakistani operation but locals told him that commandos were not Pakistanis.
This semi-rural area of Hashmi colony is more than one km away from the Pakistan Military Academy. It’s not a garrison area. No field unit of Pakistan army is deployed here. High walls in this conservative area were not an unusual thing and nobody suspected that Osama bin Laden could be hiding there despite the fact that this area was raided by ISI in 2004. The local security officials had no idea that this operation was going on against Osama bin Ladin. He informed his high-ups that Americans have landed in that area. Within a few minutes Pakistan Air Force (PMA) was alerted to take some action but it was too late because by that time American commandos completed their mission and left Abbotabad.
The Pakistani authorities came to know about the reality when a 10-year-old girl–Safia–informed them that Americans have killed her father Osama bin Laden. She only saw Americans dragging the body of bin Laden from stairs. These security officials were not aware that his death just one km away from the PMA will create lot of problems for Pakistan. If bin Laden was really hiding in this area without the knowledge of anyone in the secret agencies then it was a very well calculated risk. He was sure that nobody will suspect an area which is very close to the PMA and which was already raided in 2004 but his calculation proved wrong.
One federal minister told me, “Osama bin Laden is smiling even after his death because his enemies were even terrified of his dead body, they were afraid of burying him, they threw his dead body in the sea just to evade a mausoleum and next day the CIA chief’s statement threw away the alliance between Pakistan and US in some another sea, now we cannot say publicly that US is a friend of Pakistan, nobody will trust us”.
No doubt that Americans provided a martyr to al Qaeda on May 2. This martyr always opposed a dialogue and alliance with US. The chances of a dialogue between Taliban and US in Afghanistan have further minimised after the assassination of bin Laden. Afghan Taliban sources are claiming that they never started a direct and serious dialogue with US in the recent past but now there are no chances of any dialogue with US. Security officials in Islamabad think that after the assassination of bin Laden, al Qaeda leadership will definitely try to organise a meeting to appoint a new chief and they should not allow al Qaeda to reorganise in Pakistan. Top government sources in Islamabad have said now they must make it sure that Taliban leader Mullah Omar is not present in Pakistan and if he is here, then they must hunt him down. Otherwise US can embarrass Pakistan again”.
It is also learnt that Pakistani security forces will launch a massive search operation not only in Quetta but also in the no-go areas of North Waziristan soon. The Pakistani authorities would like to hunt Mullah Omar or Egyptian born Dr Aymanal Zawahri as soon as possible if they are hiding somewhere in Pakistan. This operation may give rise to more bombings in Pakistan and more innocent civilians may be killed. US is claiming a victory after killing bin Laden but in the coming days Pakistan will pay the price of this victory. Some sources in Pakistani establishment think that the authorities will now try to secure Quetta or North Waziristan not in US interest but actually in Pakistan’s own interest because after Laden, the real target of US is not Mullah Omar or Zawahri but Pakistan army, and the reputation of Pakistan army can be secured only by hunting top Taliban and al Qaeda leaders if they are hiding in Pakistan.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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