Written by Memri.org
Pakistani Editor on Bin Laden's Killing: 'Now, With Irrefutable Evidence of His Death Taking Place in Abbottabad, Islamabad Has Egg on Its Face'
In an article on the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, senior Pakistani editor Badar Alam notes that Pakistan, which had been claiming that the Al-Qaeda leader was not on Pakistani soil, has suffered a major setback to its image and trustworthiness, especially in its relationship with its neighboring nations and the U.S.
"Not that Pakistan has a great international image to speak of. But whatever trust or goodwill the country has been trying to build vis-Ã -vis Afghanistan, India and the United States in the recent past has suffered a serious blow," wrote Badar Alam, who is editor of the Dawn media group's Herald magazine.
He added: "The fact that the most wanted international terrorist, and a sworn enemy of Pakistan's state and government, has been residing within a stone's throw from the country's military academy is something that will continue to disturb and upset many in the country."
The website of The Times of India daily, in a report from its Islamabad correspondent, also raised question on the Pakistani military's support for terrorist groups, and noted that the killing of bin Laden will "jeopardize relations between Islamabad and Washington."
The report raised question marks about the Pakistani military's support for militant groups, noting: "The death of bin Laden in Abbottabad, a city mostly dominated by Pakistan's military, has raised many questions regarding the role of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) [and] whether his whereabouts were known to the spy agency. Bin Laden was not living in an ordinary residence."
Following are excerpts from Badar Alam's article and from the Times of India report:
"With Osama bin Laden dead, Pakistan will have three major worries to contend with. Though these relate to three different aspects of Pakistan's state policies, they all emanate from the same source: Pakistan's troubled relationship with Islamic terrorist organizations and their targets – that is, the United States, Europe and India.
"These aspects pertain to Pakistan's internal image as a member of the international community, the country's internal image in the eyes of its own people and the increasing or diminishing threat of terrorist attacks in the coming days and months.
"Not that Pakistan has a great international image to speak of. But whatever trust or goodwill the country has been trying to build, vis-Ã -vis Afghanistan, India and the United States, in the recent past has suffered a serious blow.
"For years Pakistan has denied that bin Laden was in Pakistan. Now with irrefutable evidence of his death taking place in Abbottabad, Islamabad has egg on its face. It will be difficult in the months and years to come to live in the same denial mode that Pakistan has been trying to live in even in the face of mounting international evidence and pressure that the main leaders of both Al-Qaeda and Taliban are living and operating from its territory and that the country must do something to get rid of them.
"Now that the evidence is there that they are/were/have been living in Pakistan, hence international pressure is bound to increase even more. How Pakistan chooses to deal with such a situation will determine whether Pakistan gains some of its lost image or continues to have its reputation tarnished further."
"The Most Wanted International Terrorist, and a Sworn Enemy of Pakistan's State and Government, Has Been Residing Within a Stone's Throw of the Country's Military Academy"
"Secondly, the fact that the most wanted international terrorist, and a sworn enemy of Pakistan's state and government, has been residing within a stone's throw of the country's military academy is something that will continue to disturb and upset many in the country.
"How could the intelligence agencies not know about him? Why have the military and the government been so uninformed about the presence of potentially the most dangerous man on the earth residing within the vicinity of perhaps one of Pakistan's most sensitive military sites?"
"Expect talk shows, newspaper columns and blogosphere to be flooded with questions likes this in the next few days and weeks. The questions are important, indeed.
"How can a foreigner without any travel documents – valid or otherwise – live along with his wife, children and armed guards in highly sensitive and supposedly high security areas? Why did the Pakistani government and the military never find out that the world's most wanted man was living right under their noses without any lawful authority? Was the Pakistan army chief addressing a military passing out parade only a few days ago only a few kilometers from where bin Laden was? How dangerous such a situation was?
"The flip side of this debate is already making itself felt on the television channels. This pertains to questions about Pakistan's sovereignty. How on earth could an American military operation take place in the heart of the country – in fact, a short distance from its military academy? What about the breach of Pakistan's airspace and the sanctity of its national boundaries if the American attackers came from Afghanistan?
"If, however, they were already in, why could Pakistan not have a tab on their movement within its own territory? Did the government in Islamabad know about the get-Osama operation? Did the military and the intelligence know about it? If yes, how much did they know and what was their role in the operation? If no, why not? These questions will be asked by political leaders, mainly from the right of the political spectrum, as well as very vocal media and intelligentsia.
"Lastly, post-bin Laden, terrorism may enter a new, even more uncertain, phase in Pakistan. There may be an immediate 'reaction' from bin Laden's supporters among the Pakistani Taliban as well as other religious and sectarian militant groups in the shape of suicide bombings and other attacks against the symbols of state, security and government in Pakistan as well as against civilian targets in the urban areas.
"More alarmingly, there may emerge some new individuals and groups – so far unknown – who may take up bin Laden's cause and increase terrorist activity in Pakistan in particular and across the globe in general…"
"In this scenario, Pakistan must brace for more difficult, more uncertain and more turbulent times."
"The killing of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of 9/11, in a ground operation carried out exclusively by U.S. troops on late Sunday night near Pakistan's military academy in Abbottabad, could jeopardize relations between Islamabad and Washington.
"For hours, Pakistan kept mum over the news of bin Laden's death. It broke its silence about 11 hours after the incident, when the country's foreign office confirmed that the operation against bin Laden was entirely the handiwork of the U.S. forces. The statement came after long hours of deliberations and brainstorming between the country's top civilian and military leadership in the Pakistan president house at Islamabad.
"'In an intelligence-driven operation, Osama bin Laden was killed in the surroundings of Abbottabad in the early hours of this morning. This operation was conducted by the U.S. forces in accordance with declared U.S. policy that Osama bin Laden will be eliminated in a direct action by the U.S. forces, wherever found,' Tehmina Janjua, Pakistan's foreign office spokesperson said. Following Janjua's statement, Pakistani… [Prime Minister] Yousuf Raza Gilani called the killing of Osama bin Laden a great victory… adding that he didn't know the details of the U.S. operation.
"Pakistan's military has not released any statement about bin Laden's killing. Some observers believe that Pakistan would like to be seen as not having helped in this operation because it would become the immediate target of the terrorist network."
"However, Pakistan's former ISI chief, General Hamid Gul, said that Osama may have been in Pakistan for [medical] treatment. 'Osama's presence raises questions about the Pakistan intelligence's ability,' he said.
"Gul was critical of U.S. activities in Pakistan. 'Americans have been given a free hand in Pakistan and they do whatever they want. They have hoodwinked us and are after Pakistan's nuclear assets.' He said there will be a backlash from Al-Qaeda if it transpires that Pakistan helped the U.S. in this operation."
"The death of bin Laden in Abbottabad, a city mostly dominated by Pakistan's military, has raised many questions regarding the role of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) whether his whereabouts were known to the spy agency. Bin Laden was not living in an ordinary residence. The walls of three-storey building were 12- to 18ft high, topped with barbed wire. Access to the compound was severely restricted. Bin Laden's compound was roughly eight times larger than other houses in the area.
"Since the start of the war on terror, Pakistani leaders have denied the presence of bin Laden in the country. His death on Sunday night caught the Pakistani leadership unawares. His presence just next to the Kakul military academy in Abbottabad which produce scores of officers every year for the Pakistan's army came as a big surprise. Contrary to frequent media/intelligence speculation in the last several years that Bin Laden could be hiding in the rugged tribal areas of Pakistan or even across the border in Afghanistan, the Al-Qaeda's iconic leader was found in a rather peaceful and scenic suburb of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.
"Sources inside Peshawar's U.S. consulate informed… [The Times of India] that the American officials working in the north-western city were suddenly told on Friday to leave because of threats of their abductions.
"The killing of bin Laden came as relations between the U.S. and Pakistan have reached to its lowest point since the start of the war against terror. Since 9/11, the U.S. has given the Pakistan's military nearly $20 billion for counter-terrorism campaigns.
"The U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, during his last visit to Islamabad, publicly criticized Pakistan's military for not acting against Al-Qaeda linked insurgent groups sheltering in Pakistan's tribal region of North Waziristan.
"However, last week Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, told the passing out parade of cadets from the Kakul military academy that Pakistan had broken the back of terrorism in the country.
"The killing of bin Laden within few hundred meters distance from the military academy has evaporated Kayani's tall claim into thin air."
 www.dawn.com (Pakistan), May 2, 2011. The text of the article and report in this dispatch has been lightly edited for clarity.
 www.timesofindia.com (India), May 2, 2011. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) explores the Middle East through the region's media (both print and television), websites, religious sermons and school books. MEMRI bridges the language gap which exists between the West and the Middle East, providing timely translations of Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Pashtu, Dari, Hindi, and Turkish media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends in the Middle East