Bin Laden in Abbottabad: Commission struggling in pinning blame

Published: February 16, 2012

Probe body’s findings may be further delayed as it ‘can’t and won’t’ fix responsibility. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Already a month past the deadline, the Abbottabad Commission braces for further delay in releasing its report as it struggles to determine how and with whose help al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden had been living in Abbottabad for years.

The government formed the high-powered inquiry commission last year to investigate the killing of Bin Laden by American commandos in a secret raid on May 2, 2011.

Its mandate also includes finding out whether the terror leader was aided by elements from within the secret agencies, as alleged by the West.

However, insiders told The Express Tribune on Wednesday that the commission is in a fix over the question of fixing responsibility.

“It looks like they can’t and won’t name anybody,” said an official, who is aware of the proceedings.

Chief of the commission Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal told the media last December that the report, encompassing all the aspects of the matter, will be completed by the end of the year. However, this is yet to happen.

Officials privy to the inquiry attributed the delay to the explosive question of naming and blaming those who were at the helm of affairs in secret agencies during the years Bin Laden was living in his safe house – which is literally in the backyard of the military’s top training facility.

At least four generals, including incumbent military chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, served as head of the country’s premier spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), from 2003 and 2011 — during Bin Laden’s years in Abbottabad.

There are suspicions in the West that the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks had a ‘support network’ within Pakistani spy agencies.

“Of course, somebody was responsible and the commission is responsible for identifying that somebody,” said an official. “But it seems the probe body is not going to do that,” he added.

Beating about the bush

An official, who claimed to have had a discussion with one of the commission’s members, said the probe had almost been completed by the end of last year, and what is being done now is nothing but wasting time.

“They are beating about the bush now,” the insider said, after the commission summoned Interior Minister Rehman Malik for questioning but he refused due to other ‘pressing’ engagements.

According to an announcement by the commission’s secretariat, a new date will soon be decided to have a session with the minister.

There wasn’t any word what the probe body wanted to question Malik about.

Details of illegal immigrants sought

The Abbottabad Commission has also sought details of arrests of illegal immigrants in the last 10 years by the interior ministry and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), The Express Tribune has learnt.

The commission has written a letter to the interior ministry, in this regard, asking for a detailed report.

(With additional reporting by Asad Kharal in Lahore)

Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2012.

Reader Comments (35)

  • numbersnumbers
    Feb 16, 2012 - 10:17AM

    The Goals of this “Investigation” were determined long ago, so no one should be surprised at the lack of any substance to the findings! With the probable lack of “cooperation” from all the interested parties, I doubt if the commission could even report on what the weather was like in Abbottabad back on May 2nd! One thing I would bet on is that the final “report” will be similar to that issued over the death of SALEEM SHAZAD, (and maybe even implicate HRW in helping the Americans find OBL)!!! All in all though, after seeing the “report” think of that famous cartoon showing those three monkeys (See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil)!!! I just smile and image those first few words of the report to be ‘OSAMA bin WHO??

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  • Irtiza
    Feb 16, 2012 - 10:21AM

    This certainly shows that a high profile military figure is the culprit. Had this been fault of any civilian, the commission would have given their findings at once.

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  • Waqt-ka-Taqaaza
    Feb 16, 2012 - 10:26AM

    More than 60% of Pakistani citizens do not believe OBL was killed by the Americans. So what is this commission all about?

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  • Feroz
    Feb 16, 2012 - 10:28AM

    This Commission will waste time and money without anything of consequence showing up in its report. Everybody and their mother in law knows that it is impossible to live in a garrison town in a huge structure with 12 feet walls unnoticed by the relevant Powers in the area. The issue is whether the sugar coating will be honey based, molasses based or merely colorful icing.

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  • somy
    Feb 16, 2012 - 10:31AM

    hahaha, I told you so!!

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  • JS
    Feb 16, 2012 - 11:12AM

    While their at it, maybe this commission can also find out who killed Liaquat Ali Khan? who lost half my country? who completely fabricated the modern history of my country? who killed zia? who killed BB? who attacked Mehran Base? who attacked the GHQ? May 12th? and who in their right mind is stupid enough to believe we will ever get the answers to these trivial questions……..

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  • Mirza
    Feb 16, 2012 - 11:17AM

    The powerful protectors of OBL would be protected at all costs. They would come out with a whole lot of nothing without focussing the real issue the presence of OBL and his harem in the custom made safe house for 6 years. If it could be made the civilian’s fault the SC and its judges would try the case on an emergency basis and would go to any extent to seek the evidence but they are not going to anything against the failure and complicity of army. Not now and never. This kind of using resources and protecting the terrorists is the worst form of corruption and treason.

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Feb 16, 2012 - 11:19AM

    It’s easy to wake up someone from sleep, but, it’s very difficult to wake up someone who pretends to sleep.

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  • Raj - USA
    Feb 16, 2012 - 11:43AM

    Nusrat Javed in Bolta Pakistan Talk show said that the Commission is delaying releasing the report on purpose and intends to release the report after the retirement of Gen. Pasha.

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  • MarkH
    Feb 16, 2012 - 12:15PM

    @Waqt-ka-Taqaaza:
    Just because a majority is a little on the slow side it doesn’t mean the world should have to dumb itself down to match it. It’s more like an embarrassing aspect of the situation that people try not to draw attention to publicly. Too many cousins, too little standards.

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  • Ishrat Salim
    Feb 16, 2012 - 12:17PM

    This commission is like 9/11 commission which till today remained inconclusive.Has any commission in Pakistan was ever conclusive.Latest was Saleem Shahzad case…?Recommend

  • harkol
    Feb 16, 2012 - 12:45PM

    OBL traveled deep in to Pakistan, made a base in a Military town – walkable distance from a Major military institute, lived there for 6 years with his entire family, having bought a home there!!

    Surely no one in Pakistan establishment knew or can be blamed!! It was a Indian/Israel/US conspiracy to have planted him there! Or perhaps he was never there, it was just a claim..

    As saying goes – you can’t fool all the people all the time. Pakistan Army is running out of people whom it can fool.

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  • Beatle
    Feb 16, 2012 - 1:03PM

    Who is responsible? Its written on the wall. Real question is can anybody dare naming that organisation and personnel openly. Do,’t think so.

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  • rsk
    Feb 16, 2012 - 1:27PM

    @Waqt-ka-Taqaaza:

    Thats a good idea. The report should state. Osama was never in Abbottabad and all the Americans did was a story cooked up for Hollywood movie. So there is no question of blaming any one.

    BTW, pls suggest some reason why that Doctor is behind bars.

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  • Feb 16, 2012 - 2:23PM

    The way no one killed Saleem Shahzad, no one helped OBL build that house, fortify it, finance it, install security arrangements for it, buy land for it,etc.

    I wont even be surprised if they hang that poor Doctor who conducted Polio vaccinations, which ultimately led to OBLs death.

    The people who helped a mass murderer go scot free, but life saving, innocent Doctors who unknowingly help to nab a killer get the noose.

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  • White Russian
    Feb 16, 2012 - 2:28PM

    So much about the independence of judges!

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  • IFTIKHAR-UR-REHMAN
    Feb 16, 2012 - 2:43PM

    Just like Saleem Shahzad commission were unable to find the kidnappers and murderers similarly they will be unable to pin the blame. These commissions are just a waste of time and money and protect the REAL CULPRITS

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  • Nand
    Feb 16, 2012 - 2:46PM

    It is about time (though 60+ years late) to finally name the institution that has brought down Pakistan and shamed it and to FULLY come into the command of the elected Govt. I want to see BRIC+P (Brazil/Russia/India/China+Pakistan) to be the next world powers.

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  • jagjit sidhoo
    Feb 16, 2012 - 3:12PM

    Very difficult to blame youself

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  • mateen
    Feb 16, 2012 - 3:24PM

    Oh, we lost Muhammad Bin Qasim II. If someone has doubts, pl ask those who passionately participated in bin Laden’s Namaz-e-Janaza held at chauburgi Lahore. Those who provided Bin Laden safe heaven, definitely had same passion in their hearts.
    How long we will look for new Muhammad bin Qasim, Ghaznavi or others to heal our self-imposed wounds.

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  • Cautious
    Feb 16, 2012 - 3:39PM

    The rest of the World already knows everything they need to know about Abbottabad and Pakistan has decided to come down with a a convenient case of selective amnesia. The Commission has devolved into an embarrassment for Pakistan – I keep expecting someone on the Commission to fake an illness which may provide the Commission an excuse to go into an indefinite recess.

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  • khalid rana
    Feb 16, 2012 - 4:13PM

    Who other than our army can be so foolish to take on a super power. Although i dont like this super power they certainly were right in killing Osama who gave a bad name to Islam.

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  • Feb 16, 2012 - 4:33PM

    Wonder if the commission report says Osama was not killed in Abotabbad Operation :p

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  • grinz09
    Feb 16, 2012 - 5:48PM

    Ask Ziauddin Butt – he seems to know everything.

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  • Harry Stone
    Feb 16, 2012 - 7:53PM

    @Pakistan politics:

    the best of both worlds………OBL was not killed in Abotabbad ……….because he was never there………

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  • Tony C.
    Feb 16, 2012 - 9:28PM

    The whole saga of Osama Bin Laden appears to be like a futuristic fantasy novel with little twists and turns designed to entertain readers on a cold winter night, and any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental. I had never heard of Osama Bin Laden until U.S. intelligence accused him of perpetrating 9/11 with the help of a few Saudi Arabians, within 24 hours of it happening. We know that the Americans were familiar with Osama Bin Laden because they admitted training him, with a view to making life difficult for the Russians. We know that some Saudis were in America, because they went for pilot training on single engine aircraft, and the trainer has made the remark that they were so inept he would not allow them to drive his car. Never-the-less we have been led to understand that they commandeered a few of the largest aircraft in the world and knew how to navigate and control them for several hours until they flew them into three buildings. Additionally, a fourth building then conveniently collapsed without any help. Up until now there has not been a satisfactory explanation about what really happened, but for reasons best know to President Bush he blamed the Taliban for allowing Osama Bin Laden to hole out in the mountains, and declared war on Afghanistan. With the largest intelligence network in the world America could not find Osama Bin Laden for ten years, but then a Doctor told them he was in Abbottabad. Subsequently, President Obama gleefully proclaimed that U.S. forces had captured him, but could not provide proof because they had disposed of the body. Now the Abbottabad Commission have to come up with an explanation about what really happened in Abbottabad. Best of luck to Justice Javed Iqbal. I hope your crystal ball is in good working order.

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  • Cautious
    Feb 16, 2012 - 10:32PM

    @Tony C. Perhaps you or one of your fellow conspiracy theorist can answer a few questions.
    .
    If OBL is alive then why hasn’t he resurfaced – that alone would result in Obama’s impeachment and the termination of a lot of top brass in the Pentagon. If OBL wasn’t in Abbottabad why hasn’t anyone in the Pakistan govt, military or intelligence service denied it – they are the ones that would benefit the most by a plausible denial. What were OBL wife and kids doing in Abbottabad and why would they support the American statements about OBL death? What reason would the Republican’s have to support Obama after their top leadership reviewed the Abbottabad raid evidence – they are the last one’s who want to see Obama succeed.
    .
    Conspiracy theorist have one thing in common — a inexplicable ability to ignore mountains of evidence and a singular ability to focus on whatever suits their bias.Recommend

  • punjab
    Feb 16, 2012 - 11:44PM

    @Cautious:
    there was never a person called OBL.even claim of his existense is a conspiracy

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  • Sandip
    Feb 17, 2012 - 12:00AM

    @Pakistan politics:
    Blockquote

    Blockquote> Wonder if the commission report says Osama was not killed in Abotabbad Operation :p

    Methinks it will go like this: He was bred in India, indoctrinated in Israel, used to bring down WTC and then sent to Abbottabad via Fedex (by the US) and then killed there. All of this done to frame Pakistan by US, Israel, India axis. :)

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  • Harry Stone
    Feb 17, 2012 - 12:12AM

    @Sandip:

    Did Tony C write this for you………? Sounds much like him

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  • A Khokar
    Feb 17, 2012 - 12:28AM

    It is being said that in case of OBL killing, ISI has suffered a colossal setback but No sane person may believe that this well-guarded compound was not a CIA safe house where OBL and his family were being kept to spring them up as a joint Pak-US victory Trophy on WOT, which may be done sometimes closer to withdrawal date to be announced by Obama (July last year) but somehow at last minute; Pentagon saw it un workable as it will be seen very compromising.

    US decided to betray its ally and declared a sole victory by killing and hijacking OBL…and at the same times alleging ISI for her accomplices too.

    Whereas this is a colossal betrayal by US of its ally but this was joint Pak-US venture and it is strange that rather than high lighting the betrayal of US and move on; Pakistani media is beating about the bushes and like to see the ISI or the military isolated and fixing a blame on them of some kind of ill doing. There is nothing evil here as this was joint US venture; which from Pakistan point of view met a collosal failure.

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  • Feb 17, 2012 - 7:58AM

    Totally agreed with Yuri Kondratyuk! They really are pretending like they are sleeping. Real question is can anybody dare naming that organisation and personnel openly.

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  • Tony C.
    Feb 17, 2012 - 9:49AM

    @Harry Stone:
    Dear Harry,
    Which of the fairy tales dreamed up by by Washington such as 9/11 and taking out Osama Bin Laden would you like to discuss? If the Tribune will allow us we could write a 50,000 word dissertation on the problem. However, before we start on this I should point out that I did not say that Osama Bin Laden was alive, and as for the rest I thought everything I wrote was also factual. Think about it and let me know in a reasonably precise manner where I went wrong in your opinion. Regards, Tony C.
    P.S. : we have to stop meeting like this.

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  • well-wisher
    Feb 17, 2012 - 10:23AM

    The best option for commission to save those responsible for OBL fiasco is to opine that due to insufficient evidence presented before it, the findings were inconclusive to pinpoint blame on anybody and leave it to the judicary to decide, who would most likely ignore this issue.

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  • Tony C.
    Feb 17, 2012 - 7:46PM

    @Harry Stone:
    Dear Harry, My apologies. I mixed you up with Cautious. A senior moment maybe. Perhaps I am wrong and we should just blame Pakistan for the whole mess. Maybe we could also blame Pakistan for Iraq and Libya being bombed into the stone age. Best wishes.

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