ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has setup a special committee to probe the violation of the country’s air space by US helicopters which conducted the operation against Osama bin Laden between the night of May 1 and May 2, BBC reported on Sunday.
Initial investigation by the committee reveals that air radars at Peshawar and Risalpur, which are meant to monitor the country’s western border, were working as per usual at the time of the US operation and even detected some movement at around 11 pm on May 1 near Jalalabad airport in Afghanistan. PAF officers are now contemplating whether or not US military strategists had arranged the movement of about half a dozen aircraft from Jalalabad to distract the Pakistani authorities. One of these was an American aircraft fitted with Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) while the rest of them were recognised as American F-8 fighter aircraft.
These aircraft continued flying near the Pakistani border for quite some time, diverting the attention of the Pakistani authorities towards them. However, none of these aircraft violated Pakistan’s airspace. The investigation committee is now trying to find out why Pakistani radars failed to detect the helicopters that carried out the operation against Osama despite the fact the authorities were on high alert because of these aircraft.
Officials said that the committee has started interviewing all the officials who were on duty that night and has started scrutinising the record. Various defence and intelligence organisations are expected to set up such more inquiry committees in the future which will try to unearth the facts surrounding the incident which has caused embarrassment to Pakistan on the international level.
Meanwhile according to Sana News agency, an initial report on the US operation has been presented to President Zardari. According to officials, the report states that experts of the intelligence and investigating agencies visited Osama bin Laden’s compound after the US operation while forensic experts collected evidence comprising samples of a human brain and blood. The evidence suggests that Bin Laden probably died on the spot.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2011.