Abbottabad raid: Judges, not generals, should conduct inquiry, says Nawaz

Published: May 12, 2011
PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif addressing a press conference. PHOTO: AFP

PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif addressing a press conference. PHOTO: AFP


With the military already on the back foot following the US special forces’ raid in Abbottabad, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Wednesday accused the country’s intelligence agencies of negligence and incompetence.

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who only recently returned home after medical treatment in London, also ratcheted up the pressure on the PPP-led government.

Sharif rejected a military-led investigation ordered by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Monday into the May 2 raid that had killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and the circumstances surrounding the operation.

Instead, Sharif called for a judicial inquiry into the incident to dispel doubts about its objectivity. He said a six-member judicial commission should be set up within three days for the inquiry.

The proposed commission should complete its investigation within 21 days and  then submit its report to Parliament, he added.

Sharif said that he has also written a letter to the prime minister demanding the formation of the commission. He said the chief justice of Pakistan should head the proposed commission which should include the chief justices of the five high courts of the country.

The PML-N chief was speaking at a press conference at the conclusion of a two-day consultative meeting of his party in Islamabad.

The PML-N is now effectively the only opposition group in parliament after the PML-Q and the MQM joined the PPP-led ruling coalition. Sharif, however, did not say what his party would do if his demand was ignored.

Interestingly, Sharif spared the government in his tirade over the undetected breach of the country’s sovereignty by US forces. Instead, he heaped criticism on the security forces for the “worst case of negligence and incompetence.”

“It is a matter of serious concern that our security institutions knew nothing when the helicopter gunships and commandos remained in our territory and airspace for so long,” he said.

Sharif also questioned how the world’s most wanted man could be holed up in a compound less than a kilometre from the nation’s top military academy.

“Why could our secret agencies, which are always engaged in chasing politicians or playing political gimmicks, not detect him?” he said. This intelligence failure has affected the morale of the armed forces and shocked the nation, he added.

Sharif also bemoaned the damage that the incident had caused to the country’s reputation abroad. “Isn’t it true that the world considers us a country that abets and exports terrorism?” he said. “Isn’t it true that all crimes everywhere in the world have links with our home?”

A few days after the US military’s top-secret operation in Abbottabad, the military leadership announced an investigation into the incident. Subsequently, Premier Gilani also announced an inquiry by Pakistan Army’s Adjutant-General Lt Gen Javed Iqbal.

Neither the military nor the civilian authorities have come out with the terms of reference of the inquiry committee or a timeframe for the investigation.

The PML-N, which used to be considered a pro-establishment party in the past, has been criticising the military and intelligence agencies for some time now.

However, sources say that the party is divided on its confrontation with the powerful military establishment. A group, led by Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, is in favour of such a confrontation but another group, led by Shahbaz Sharif, is opposed to the idea.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (57)

  • Muhammad Ali Qureshi
    May 11, 2011 - 6:55PM

    Very well and as per the nation stance taken by Nawaz Sharif.
    He seems very mature and deep sensed politician now.
    For the first time he used anti-establishment stance which was PPP’s stance in past.
    Well lets see PPP do agree on the appointment of Judicial Inquiry or PML-N has to announce long march towards GHQ ?Recommend

  • Aurangzeb Rao
    May 11, 2011 - 7:27PM

    Pthetic display of “back foot” politicsRecommend

  • Aurangzeb Rao
    May 11, 2011 - 7:35PM

    I would like to further add. Lets assess whether we can or cannot live without american aid. What will be the repercussions of actually defending our boundaries? Will China stand by us? None of the politicians will DIRECTLY ever stay in front of the US government. I am myself very liberal Muslim, but am forced to say that these are crusades and these will only end after they get hold of the Nuclear weapons.Recommend

  • imran
    May 11, 2011 - 7:54PM

    Nawaz Sharif is fully aware of the situation and has a vision fully agree with his stance… well done pmlnRecommend

  • Noor Nabi
    May 11, 2011 - 8:09PM

    Nawaz Sharif has made a statesman like statement and one hopes he and his party will continue to take a position that is in the best interests of the country. This is a very serious milestone in Pakistan’s history and it does not allow for revenge politics. The political and military leadership should come on board with this suggestion and move forward towards doing everything to make Pakistan a strong country that is also respected by the rest of the world. Recommend

  • dude
    May 11, 2011 - 8:28PM

    @rao Will China stand by us? –> It has to go with the world.China and its economy is also dependant for it exports on rest of the world and not Pakistan. Economics is the new politics.Recommend

  • Lobster
    May 11, 2011 - 8:32PM

    Despite my reservations on PMLN and Sharifs, I must acknowledge its the right direction. Nawaz Sharif has changed a lot. Recommend

  • Komal
    May 11, 2011 - 8:45PM

    OFFICIAL! This website is biased towards N-League.Recommend

  • usman
    May 11, 2011 - 8:51PM

    assalam-o-alaikum to alI,I agree with Nawaz Sharif that a judicial commission should be constituted to probe into the matter.And its report will be accepted by everyone.i humbly request the government to be all ears to this demand as all the Pakistanis want to know the my opinion a judicial commission can only solve this riddle.Recommend

  • Rana
    May 11, 2011 - 8:52PM

    Nawaz Sharif always has tradition to play on back foot and defensive and attack the government whenever felt that definitely catch will drop.PML-N only focus on their turn to consolidate more wealth and corruption in name of “Sharif”.

    It is my humble request to all young generation please waive of these swinging parties negative attitude toward destroyed our beloved motherland. Next time should vote to right person because we already trail all PPP/PML-N corrupt politician.

    Now we have to wake up and saved our country from internal and external enemies.Recommend

  • SharifL
    May 11, 2011 - 9:21PM

    Nobody can disagree with NS on this issue, whether you like him otherwise or not. After all, he helped OBL and got money from him to beat BB. We have not forgotten that. Blasphemy laws was also passed by him. He tried to mill thru Sharia law also. So there is good in him also. Recommend

  • Karrar Haider
    May 11, 2011 - 9:46PM

    Mian sahib,
    chhaa gaiay ho !!Recommend

  • May 11, 2011 - 9:52PM

    The most important thing is that..What was Bin Laden doing in Pakistan??…U.S invasion “problem” has to wait…Recommend

  • May 11, 2011 - 9:55PM

    The most important thing is that..What was Bin Laden doing in Pakistan??…U.S invasion “problem” has to wait….Shocked and disgraced by the people, religious parties and media against the U.S invasion..neglecting the most important thing that is what was OBL doing here in Pakistan..

  • ashwin
    May 11, 2011 - 10:11PM

    Will he be put down like BB.Well people you have a leader who is ready to support your nation, get behind dont allow the wolves get him.Recommend

  • Arun
    May 11, 2011 - 10:30PM

    The key questions is not whether China or anyone will stand by Pakistan, the key is whether the ordinary Pakistani will stand by Pakistan/Himself and ensure that subversive forces are defeated and people are the prime concern of the system that emerges from this churn. It is a disaster but also an opportunity, a historic one.Recommend

  • Nurmomad
    May 11, 2011 - 10:35PM

    It is a tradition of the Pakistani politicians to speak sense when out of the government (federal government, in Punjab’s case).

    Why did Nawaz Sharif not ask for a judicial probe into the release of Raymond Davis?Recommend

  • arshad Ullah
    May 11, 2011 - 10:40PM

    there should be a judicial inquiry into nawaz sharif as he always disappears when there is a crisis in pakistan. he turns up when the heat is offRecommend

  • May 11, 2011 - 10:55PM

    Had Nawaz Shareef Slammed COAS & DG ISI DIRECTLY People would’ve called it ‘Personal Vendetta’.
    I personally wanted him to ask for DG ISI’s Resignation at least!
    He Played it Neutral & Much More Mature than i thought.!!
    Well Done PML-N..!!

    Way to go!! Steps toward Civilian Supremacy!!Recommend

  • Shafique
    May 11, 2011 - 11:35PM

    The big question is, What in the world was Shahbaz Shareef doing in meeting with Kiyani at 2am when the abottabad operation was in progress…???

    haaaaannnnn use the good cop bad cop story =) keep a door open for talks with establishment through the small shareef n toe the public sentiment line through the big shareef n hey dont forget there is mr. nisar as well chanting slogans against army n establishment….

    the point s the all are rotten eggs of the same status quo not to forget.. P, Q, N, MQM, ANP n GHQ all are part of the ruling responsible for the misery of our ppl…. real change is radical change in status quo…..
    i invite all to think out of the box for a method to bring about a radical change =)Recommend

  • Mirza
    May 12, 2011 - 12:08AM

    Nawaz is really a funny guy. He came home after the fact. He knows there can be any judicial commission but their report would never come out. Being a political offspring of dictator Zia, NS fully knows when the army did not allow report of the surrender of East Pakistan and Kargil, then what makes him think that the army would allow the publication this time? Even if there is any judicial commission, its report would remain an army secret, just like Humod Rehman Commission Report.

    First demand the publication of the above reports then start new ones otherwise it is all talk, diversion and face saving. Recommend

  • Aamer
    May 12, 2011 - 12:18AM

    Lets face it Nawaz Sharif is right this time around, some may call it political mileage but fact is taking such anti-establishment stance is not a good omen for politicians. Secondly, when a party like PPP that should have been greatly anti-establishment has decided to be the devils advocate this time, we need someone to project the views of common Pakistani’s.

    Lastly with MQM, PMLQ, PPP, ANP all sitting in the government for minting money, PML-N effectly looks to be a party going in the right direction, whether we like it or not.Recommend

  • Rana
    May 12, 2011 - 12:18AM

    No doubt Nawaz Sharif is the only hope for civilian supremacy in Pakistan.
    Nawaz Sharif Zindabad.Recommend

  • Fahad Raza
    May 12, 2011 - 12:19AM

    Ok so what will happen if nothing is done, will he call out the prime minster.Recommend

  • Mahmood
    May 12, 2011 - 12:52AM

    Appears Pakistani people don’t trust the military/isi – not sure why they expect the American’s to trust them?Recommend

  • Rimsha
    May 12, 2011 - 1:01AM

    Long live Nawaz Sharif, you are future Prime Minister.Recommend

  • Rimsha
    May 12, 2011 - 1:04AM

    Long live Nawaz Sharif, you are country’s future PM…Recommend

  • Still_Thinking
    May 12, 2011 - 3:00AM

    Its the best time for all political forces to unite and “Go for the kill”. Lets send them back to barracks and embark on true democracy i.e. where military is accountable in front of civilian Govt.

    I hope politicians show some vision, this time around.Recommend

  • Aamer
    May 12, 2011 - 3:36AM

    Excellent stance by Nawaz Sharif on the entire issue, good to see him refrain from pointing fingers in all directions.Recommend

  • jssidhoo
    May 12, 2011 - 6:09AM

    @dude: Nations have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies. Only permanent interests.” China will do what is in its interest. Every country rises or falls by its efforts or lack of them.Pakistan must follow Iqbal Khudi ko kar buland itna ke har taqder se pehle
    Khuda bande se ye poche bata teri raza kia haiRecommend

  • May 12, 2011 - 7:11AM

    Let them eat Bin Laden.Recommend

  • Kazmis
    May 12, 2011 - 9:21AM

    Once American Ambassador said, “If you harbor serpents in your backyard, they will bite yourself “. Some big forces are in your neighbor both sides, ready to bite you any time. American can conduct another adventure, Indians have the necessary support to do the same any time. It is the ripe time for both. We can feel very much insulted if the scenario was repeated again. In Indian case perhaps a short duration war resulting wide spread destruction. we should not underestimate the situation. What Pakistan forces could do? Nothing but to hide their faces but second time common man of Pakistan will hide his face. We must face the truth and our politician should make the Nation to face the truth.Recommend

  • All BS
    May 12, 2011 - 9:37AM

    I endorse the proposal but insist that the inquiry be broadened to include role of General Zia’s living remnants including Nawaz Sharif who took money from Osama bin Laden for election campaign.Recommend

  • Syed Imran
    May 12, 2011 - 9:37AM

    Nawaz Sharif has yet to learn the art of responsible politics. while he has no political ally left due to his myopic political outlook,his politics of attacking institutions must not be taken as his political maturity.
    At times of national crisis while he should advocate national unity,he is out create fissures. His past has shown us that he has ever been at loggerhead with other state institutions,be it the attack on Supreme Court of pakistan or asking for resignation of Army Chief Gen. Karamat, till he got the taste of his life at the hands of Gen Musharraf.
    Today,after having been out witted a number of times by Zardari, like a wounded beast he is attacking Pakistan Army through his mouth pieces. While the failure of Security agencies can not be condoned, the way Nawaz Sharif is acting is giving life time pleasure to the enemies of this country.
    I may also add Nawaz Sharif party rules 65% popultion of Pakistan,what has he delivered to the people of punjab in the last three years.
    Nawaz Sharif must learn that time of crisis demands walking hand in hand rather than creating chaos.Recommend

  • D. Powers
    May 12, 2011 - 9:46AM

    To be realistic, the future hope for Pakistan lies with this man, Nawaz Sharif. When in the power in the past, he tried to improve the economy, tried to mend fences with neighbors and tried to keep military at bay. Now he is much more mature and a formidable opposition to the coalition government. No matter the educated and young of this country would like to see Imran as Next PM but that cant happen, he is only a one man party. Lets hope and pray for NS. Recommend

  • Asim+Ali
    May 12, 2011 - 9:54AM

    NS was always against the armed forces. So this is no new revelation. He is just playing politics. He is a proponent of talibanization apart from being really corrupt. Politicians with skeletons in their own closet should really keep their mouth shut Recommend

  • Rana
    May 12, 2011 - 10:04AM

    Dear, there is no concern about liking or disliking,have to focus with actual facts & figures what our politician done for this country? Being a common man we required following to make comment that this leader is very good:

    1) Supply of continuous Electricity.
    2) Basic Necessity of Life like food, clother shelter.
    3) Public Transport.
    4) Controlling of Inflation.
    5) Security to Public

    Can you tell me which leader provide us these basic commidity (Musharaf, Nawaz Sharif, Zardari.)

    Now question of our sovereignty, whe have to wake up and respond accordingly with best interest of our country.Recommend

  • Hammad Ali
    May 12, 2011 - 10:11AM

    Very right ! What do you expect if the same culprits are given the job to investigate their crime.
    There is no objectivity in such investigations and some civilian should be heading the investigation.Recommend

  • Shahryar Ahmed
    May 12, 2011 - 10:13AM

    My God, I can not really believe that we have such short memories. This is the same Army that we are talking about who out did us all during 2005 & last year’s floods. Have we forgotten that? BTW, shall I remind all Nawaz’s supporter what kind of a relationship he had with the Army (especially the ISI)? I will just take 2 names: 1. Zia-ul-Haq & 2. Hameed Gul. The two most notorious Army General’s of our generation.

    Secondly, he wants an enquiry by the Judges, that is really great & I think he should have had one during his time on the following:

    Attack on the Supreme Court?
    Transfer of USD from his & his families accounts at the time of the freeze?
    The loans write off’s his family businesses got?

    And while we are at it, let’s also throw in an enquiry about the 1. Judgment on the Privatization Deal of PSM & why the re-view petition is still pending & 2. The references filed against the sitting CJP (dating back to 2006)?

    I also read in the above comments about Mr. Nawaz’s patriotism, good, infact great. I would like to ask just 1 question, infact I would like to request those intellectual TV anchor & journalist affiliated to Jang Group to ask Mr. Nawaz Sharif that if he is so patriot & feels for the people of Pakistan, then why his & his family fortune is is in the all so Evil West. Why doesn’t he bring all that money back to Pakistan & create jobs for people here?

    So my friends please pause & think & please, please do not believe all that is on the Idiot Box (TV) and let’s not leave our Forces in the line of fire. We need to back them up, as they are us, they are Pakistan.

    Yes, I do believe an enquiry should be done, but there is always a way to go about it (in a discrete fashion), let’s not be Jang & wash our dirty linen infront of the whole world.Recommend

    May 12, 2011 - 10:42AM

    A very legitimate proposal made by Mr Nawaz which will be outrightly rejected by the military.Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    May 12, 2011 - 10:45AM

    Since October 7, 1958 Generals have forced the Supreme Judiciary to bow and bent before
    them. In the same year as school student I had asked a senior Brigadier who later retired as
    four star General; Would this be the last martial law in the country or would you introduce bull-fighting since we have joined the Latin American Club. Next door the Generals across our eastern neighborhood have always bowed to their judiciary. They possess moral courage
    to accept adversity standing at the docks. Recommend

  • May 12, 2011 - 10:54AM

    Yes the military did well in floods (thoguh with very much reseervations) and they are doign well with their business empires, manufacturing from corn-flakes to cement, but is it their work or are they supposed to be doing this. They were called in flodds to help the government just because they suck all our blood by taking the lion share of the budget, living the most posh lives in this country yet when it comes to the defence of the country they are sleeping in the insulated walls of PMA ??? Is this what we the poor peopel people pay for? Tell me, would any of the army cheif stuck to his job shell this would have happened in a western country or any civilized part of the world? We have became a mockery because of this military. They are only good at running everything by just being zinophobic about India and wanting to keep Afghanistan under their hand even if it means burning our own house. They ought to be anwerabel to the nation before its too late for them to have a country where they can go ahead with their experiments. Recommend

  • Saifullah Afridi
    May 12, 2011 - 11:02AM

    You learn nothing and forget everything.Has any inquiry if at all conducted served any purpose?Target killings of thousands and trillion dollars bathakhori was ignored by government despite Zulfikar Mirza,Sind Interior ministers’ public revelations.It will be waste of time and government will never conduct but exploit it to cover its abject failures all around to destroy the poor every day.Think of another Long march,if you are serious.Recommend

  • D. Powers
    May 12, 2011 - 11:10AM

    @Saad: Very well said. You hire a driver and you find him doing the job of the cook, the gardener and the guard but he keeps on bumping your expensive car everywhere……….. whats the point in having him. The Army is supposed to protect your frontiers and come to assist civilian administration when needed. But in Pakistan, the army rules, manufactures, sells and the list goes on but when it comes to fighting, the job is jumbled up. I may emphatically add that our army jawans are excellent fighters but its the top brass which is the architect of botched jobs. Recommend

  • Asad Shairani
    May 12, 2011 - 11:29AM

    Hope this gets implemented. This is the time to turn the country in the right direction, let’s not waste this opportunity to set things straight.Recommend

  • Shabbir
    May 12, 2011 - 12:29PM

    Mr. Nawaz Sharif where have you been when your favorite judiciary and the Punjab government handed over Ramond Davis to US who killed our ISI people? Do not fool us. Recommend

  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    May 12, 2011 - 1:31PM

    All said sounds very good but why CJP and CJ of other four provinces should be dragged on this grave issue. Yes it would have been better if NS asks the President through the PM to ask the CJP to appoint a commission to investigate and suggest who are guilty in this gross negligence. It is true that no one must be allowed to play with the destiny of our country no matter what position he or she holds. Agencies must mind their own business. Though the case of Mr. Asghar Khan could have removed the role of our agencies but it is strange that CJP is not prepared to announce its verdict.Recommend

  • Patriot
    May 12, 2011 - 1:37PM

    The first breach of soverignty occured when he handed Aimal Kansi to the Americans at their demand.Recommend

  • gen
    May 12, 2011 - 2:28PM

    not yet!! change the name abbottabad to osamabadRecommend

  • Salman Kafeel Khan
    May 12, 2011 - 2:34PM

    We don’t believe you ppl anymore..Nothing would be done..Sharif’s please spare Pakistan you have already sooo much take care of it and spare us all..We as a nation are facing a low time because of the corrupt rulers but us the ppl are not cynic as yet..We will be stronger after all this and will choose our leaders wisely..INSHAALLAHRecommend

  • Qasim
    May 12, 2011 - 2:48PM

    @Shahryar Ahmed:
    Agree 100% but unfortunately people have short memories. Recommend

  • Mudassar Salim
    May 12, 2011 - 3:25PM

    Dear Sir

    Nawaz Sharif is right in demanding a judicial probe into Abbotabad incident but the problem is that will our judiciary stand up and deliver in this situation if probe leads to certain unpleasant facts?? It is very easy to hand down decisions against a person like Asif Zardari as he has been maligned and degraded by our chattering class for decades and our people now simply believe in this. But it is a different ball game altogether when it comes to Armed forces. For decades army has been a dominant force in every respect in the country. Be it defence matters, nuclear issue, foriegn policy or national security policy, it is our armed forces which has an upper and decisive hand. We have no precedent of any civilian control over armed forces throughout our history. So it is difficult to believe that this time round our judiciary will be able to come out of this pattern- its image of independence and bravado notwithstanding.
    As an addition to what Nawaz Sharif has demanded, it is suggested that the judicial commission should also decide once and for all that which institution should have the right and prerogative to frame our foreign and security policies. Whether its armed forces which should do it or should we have certain other arrangements for that? I think only then this commission would be able to contribute anything substantial. We certainly do not want another scapegoat as it would be an exercise in self-delusion.

    Mudassar Salim
    Peshawar Recommend

  • Adeel
    May 12, 2011 - 3:37PM

    i agree with Nawaz on his stance but he has much to do to gain my respect!Recommend

  • Ba Ha
    May 12, 2011 - 4:45PM

    in all this hoopla of Abbottabad, they quietly changed the CAA chief and nobody noticed?Recommend

  • May 12, 2011 - 5:11PM

    @Ba Ha:
    Holy cow, didn’t know that. They even did that, so planned???Recommend

  • Ahmed
    May 12, 2011 - 10:20PM


    You mean “bad,” not good. Those aforementioned facts about NS are bad things.Recommend

  • Yusef
    May 12, 2011 - 10:39PM


    “Emotionalism reigns supreme. We hate America but not American aid or arms.” – Raza Rumi.

    Never mind WHY Mr. Davis happened to be spying on the lovely ISI of this weak, pseudo-Republic (oh, but I’m sure OBL wasn’t really living here for over 5 years, and the military never has links to terrorist groups, do they).

    He was already given time-served and a sentence (blood money) that is acceptable here. Indeed, one wonders why all the anger isn’t directed towards the Maulvis who approved this, or the legal system in Pakistan itself? What a convenient whipping boy America is to the power establishment in Pakistan.

    I would have liked it if Davis served time in America as well. But to all those angry protesters (including so-called liberals and progressives) with placards of Davis with a noose around his neck, notice the reaction of Americans to this:

    “In 1997, Gueorgui Makharadze, formerly the second-highest-ranking diplomat at the Georgian Embassy in Washington, had his diplomatic immunity waived after he killed a Maryland teenager in a drunk driving accident. Makharadze had gotten out of a drunk-driving charge the previous year by claiming diplomatic immunity. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison and was later transferred to Georgia to finish his sentence.”

    Well, there was no reaction. No angry protests, no pictures of him with a noose around his neck. And this in a country known for hyper emotional, reflexive patriotism (and at times xenophobia).

    Our utter lack of priorities, open praise of Bin Laden, and failure to produce a credible, functioning democracy on all levels is a complete disgrace.

    And Pakistanis wonder why no one in the world respects them. Perhaps because they refuse to look in the mirror?Recommend

More in Pakistan