Nawaz Sharif is right. This Gen Iqbal panel reeks of cover up and there needs to be an independent inquiry into how we got to the point that soldiers from one foreign country crossed the border looking for soldiers from another foreign country. Pakistan has become the world’s playground and all the dharnas in history are not going to stop it if we refuse to take an honest look at the policies that got us here. Of course, when I said this a few days ago I was subject to abuse and accusations. Maybe now that Mian Nawaz has said it also people will finally listen.
After 9/11, the US government formed an official commission to investigate the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks – how the terrorists were able to be in their country undetected for years, how the agencies responded to the attacks and how to make certain that such events never happened again. The commission members included members of both major parties. Why can’t we do the same?
We need a commission formed of civilians from both coalition and opposition parties to make sure it is not used as a political weapon. There should be respected members of the judiciary also to make sure it is fair and follows the rule of law. No members should be from military or intelligence agencies, though. Why? Because whether it is the question of how the American raid was allowed to happen or how Osama was allowed to live in Abbottabad without detection, the failure was one of military/intelligence, not political parties and judiciary.
And the inquiry needs to look into more than just how the Americans got over the border without raising alarms. We need to take an honest look at who is supporting militants. If anyone is proven to be supporting terrorists in Pakistan, they should be held accountable.
I know that this is not the popular thing to say, but it’s too late to continue playacting other wise. Former Taliban deputy interior minister Mullah Mohammed Khaksar and ex-ISI officials are telling media reporters that some ISI supported al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
The twin towers in New York were still smoldering in September 2001 when Pakistan spy chief Gen. Mahmood Ahmed went to Afghanistan with the task of urging the Taliban to hand over al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
The message he actually gave Mullah Mohammed Omar was quite different: “Protect Osama. Hide him. We will help you,” according to former Taliban deputy interior minister Mullah Mohammed Khaksar. His version has been confirmed by U.S. officials and former Pakistani spies.
Honestly, I find it hard to believe that this would be official policy. Certainly Musharraf and Zardari’s governments have not supported such an official policy. But if Taliban leaders and ISI’s own ranks are pointing the finger at Gen. Mahmood Ahmed and others within the ranks, we need to treat that with the same sense of alarm that we would if they pointed to any rogue officers working behind the scenes with American or any other agents.
Sovereignty has to be more than a talking point on talk shows. We can’t have foreign soldiers crossing into our soil to carry out attacks. That means not just Americans but neither al Qaeda or Taliban soldiers using our country for strategic depth either. Ishtiaq Baig made this point perfectly in Jang:
America and India are claiming with surety that Bin Laden’s deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, Taliban leader Mullah Omar, Haqqani Network and people like Dawood Ibrahim are present in Pakistan. If this is true then before an unpleasant incident like the Abbotabad operation takes place, Pakistan should get rid of these terrorists.
Osama bin Laden was not Pakistani. Neither Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mullah Omar, or Jalaluddin Haqqani. And yet these foreign terrorists use Pakistan for their own interests without a moment’s thought for what Pakistanis want or what is good for our own country. When the Americans show up to fight them, why are we surprised? It was inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be.
Ishtiaq Baig says quite correctly that we need to convince the Americans “that Pakistan is not a source of terrorism but a victim itself”. Actually, the Americans believe that we are both source AND victim. And why not? We are losing thousands and thousands of citizens to suicide bombers and terrorist attacks and even at the same time we have terrorists living outside PMA Kakul for five years. This double game is being played not against the West but against Pakistan by Pakistan. It has to stop. The only way is to make a full and open investigation that reveals the true hand behind the puppet strings. Suffering a moment’s embarrassment over some rogue officers will be far better than suffering continued deaths because of the terrorists in our midst.