Pakistan has denied that China was given access to the wreckage of the US stealth helicopter that crashed during the Bin Laden raid in Abbottabad on May 2.
“It is baseless and speculative,” said Foreign Office spokesperson Tehmina Janjua, in response to the report that appeared in London-based newspaper The Financial Times.
Citing unnamed Pakistani officials, the paper claimed that the Chinese were allowed to take pictures of the crashed chopper as well as take samples of its special ‘skin’ that helped the American navy SEALs evade Pakistani radars.
During the raid, one of two modified Blackhawk helicopters, believed to have unknown stealth capability, malfunctioned and crashed, forcing the commandos to abandon it.
“The US now has information that Pakistan, particularly the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, gave the Chinese military access to the downed helicopter in Abbottabad,” the paper quoted a person in intelligence circles as saying.
The revelation, if confirmed, is likely to further shake the US-Pakistan relationship, which has improved only slightly after hitting its lowest point in decades following the Bin Laden raid.
However, the paper said Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani also denied that China had been given access.
The surviving tail section, photos of which were widely distributed on the Internet, was returned to the US following a trip by US Senator John Kerry in May, a US embassy spokesperson told Reuters.
Shortly after the raid, Pakistan hinted that it might give China access to the downed chopper, given its fury over the raid, which it considers a grievous violation of its sovereignty.
In an incident such as the helicopter crash, it is standard American procedure to destroy sophisticated technology such as encrypted communications and navigation computers.
Meanwhile, Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj-Gen Athar Abbas has also denied the assertion. The foreign media, he said, are launching a malicious campaign against Pakistan’s security organisations. “They [media outlets] need to verify and cross-check [information] rather than relying on unnamed
officials,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2011.