Editorial : Post-Osama blues - Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=44940&Cat=8

Osama bin Laden is dead but all kinds of uncertainties remain, especially those pertaining to the nature of Pakistan’s role in the affair. There are all kinds of contradictory statements coming in. President Zardari speaks of past cooperation and intelligence-sharing with the US. Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani, stresses an inquiry into the failure to detect Osama’s presence in a sprawling mansion in the heart of a garrison town. Prime Minister Gilani talks with a beaming smile of a significant victory. The smile may soon vanish from Gilani’s face and Zardari too may find that he needs to do some explaining to his friends in the US. There are predictions that these ‘friends’ may just turn distinctly more hostile. Western analysts point out that the operation in Abbottabad goes to prove that Pakistan is not doing enough to combat militancy – an assertion Washington has made again and again. Reports cropping up in the US media suggest that Pakistan’s old bogey, the North Waziristan-based Haqqani network, may have been protecting Osama. We do not know if this is true, but from the way things have looked over the past few months, the US may use any excuse to heighten pressure on Pakistan – especially as it marks the Osama annihilation operation as a major triumph. Whether this is strictly accurate is something to think about – given that Osama may, for years, have been nothing more than a symbolic leader.

As security goes on red alert in many places, Islamabad must also combat the threat of retaliatory attacks. Some reports suggest such threats have already been made by the Taliban. The paucity of comment from politicians, even those who love appearing on air, betrays a sense of fear and a feeling of uncertainty over what the future holds for us. It is true that the death of Osama may be good news – but the issue of how Pakistan has played its cards in the matter leaves us staring into a huge hole, down which we could possibly tumble. Some clarity is required. We need to come up with a common stance rather than a string of statements that sound like a discordant opera. The matter of how we deal with the militants must be tackled and the intelligence failure that seems to have occurred must be discussed before the heat we could quite possibly face turns our way and leaves us scrambling for cover.

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