منگل، 3 مئی، 2011
The Osama episode
Even the legend that Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri is commonly being projected into is a stretch, even as he is an existential threat to Pakistan for having openly called for its destruction and declared war on it to this end. He may be known as al-Qaeda’s military commander and operations chief. But each outfit running under the generic name of al-Qaeda has its own masterminds, commanders and cadres, sources of funding and arms, and chain of control and command.
So even if al-Zawahiri is eliminated, the al-Qaeda bloody movement will keep going on unless the causes it feeds on, like the Palestinian and Kashmir imbroglios, organised western anti-Muslim hate campaign and western capitals’ bolstering of repressive regimes in the Muslim world, are removed and extremists are thus marginalised from the national mainstreams.
Nonetheless, Osama’s killing has come as a huge prize to President Barack Obama’s administration and a tremendous booster to his own campaign to recapture the White House in the 2012 presidential race, notwithstanding our doubting Thomases, not ready to believe if really it was Osama who was killed in the raid. The American people have accepted their government’s claim by and large and joyously.
But whatever it is, the Osama episode has pushed Pakistan in dire straits, both internally and externally. Internally, it has triggered very disturbing questions in people’s minds troublingly. They are, firstly, deeply flabbergasted as how comes that our intelligence agencies were so ignorant that he was holed up in not a secluded niche but quite a populated residential area of a bustling city like Abbottabad for so long as about three years.
And they are really horrified that the American navy special forces SEAL commandoes came flying freely into four helicopters deep inside our territory and remained engaged for about two hours in their raid on Osama’s hideout lying just in an army garrison’s close proximity and just at stone’s throw from the Pakistan army’s premier Kakul officers training academy. And yet this intrusion drew no response either from the army or the air force.
The American raiders or their controllers may have jammed all the Pakistani radars. With a military budget more than the entire world’s combined, they do possess the state-of-the-art weaponries and technologies. But what is agitating the people disconcertingly is at least a reaction could have come when the American raid continued for hours in so close of vicinity of army’s establishments. So while this episode has dented the Pakistani military’s public image seriously, it has simultaneously stirred worrisome concerns of the people about our precious nuclear assets’ safety and security from foreign assaults.
Externally, this episode has precipitated gigantic problems for Pakistan. For the first thing, it has given tremendous grist to Pakistan’s detractors campaigning to project it as global terrorism’s epicentre and terrorism state sponsor. Secondly, it has opened up gates wide to the Americans not only to intensify their drone incursions but also mount ground raids wherever they want on our territory. And since they assert North Waziristan having become the hotbed of al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban’s Haqqani group from where they attack American and allied forces in Afghanistan and Quetta being the base of Afghan Taliban’s leadership, it should be no surprising if these two places now come under such assaults. Thirdly, this American raid would certainly serve an emboldener to others, too, to take to such incursions into our territory.
Hence, both the political and military leaderships of the country must huddle together and think out how to cope with this American raid’s aftermath and its severe negative fallout. For, what looked until yesterday as impossible has now become possible and improbable probable. A joint session of the parliament must be convened immediately to meet in-camera where the top military and intelligence leadership must sit with the lawmakers to formulate a common strategy in this regard. Even political leaderships outside the parliament must be invited to this special session. The matter is too grave and must be taken in all seriousness urgently.