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The New Indian Express: Pakistan's Schizophrenia

Author: Anees Jillani
May 16, 2011


Writing in The New Indian Express, Anees Jillani argues that Osama bin Laden was a hero in Pakistan prior to his death and remains one now.

On Friday the 13th, a joint session of Pakistan's National Assembly and the Senate was convened to consider the presence of Osama bin Laden and the American attack. The director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and the deputy chief of the military made presentations and answered questions. The three chiefs of the armed forces were present in the session.

aPoliticians love the limelight and were thus unhappy that it was a closed-door session not open to the media. Despite this, many of the hard-hitting questions, mostly coming from the Opposition Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif put to the ISI chief were reported in the dailies the following day. The joint session ended after adopting a unanimous resolution calling for a review of security and foreign policies. The resolution condemned the American raid on the Abbottabad compound in which al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed. It said that in the event of another US operation Pakistan would cut off the supply route for the United States and allied troops in Afghanistan. The resolution recommended formation of an independent commission to investigate the American attack.

Pakistani parliamentarians did not appear to be bothered about Osama living in Abbottabad for the past five years and perhaps in other parts of the country since 9/11. They were only concerned about the American attack on May 2. The parliamentarians are supposed to represent the people and this is basically what an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis are concerned about. They are concerned about the fact that American choppers flew from Afghanistan to Abbottabad and remained undetected by Pakistan's armed forces; that the Americans did not bother to inform the Pakistani government and its military prior to the attack; and that Osama was killed and the Americans took the body and immersed it at sea (saying it was in line with the Islamic burial rituals).Some also question the presence of Osama in the country for such a long time and the failure of the intelligence services, particularly the ISI, to detect his presence. However, this group is a minority and the policy-makers are not rattled.

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