While the memogate case is already keeping all the stakeholders on their toes, the opposition Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz on Friday filed another application in the Supreme Court seeking clarification of media reports that some Pakistani officials knew in advance about the May 2 Abbottabad raid.
The applicants – Senator Ishaq Dar and MNA Khwaja Asif – requested the court to club the application with the memogate case and summon Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan for his testimony on the events leading up to the Abbottabad raid that had killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
Officially, they said, the Pakistani authorities gave the impression that nobody knew about the raid before it took place. But Wajid Shamsul Hasan, in his interviews, stated otherwise.
“Pakistan had at least 8 to 10 days advance knowledge of the May 2 operation” and it “assisted in terms of authorisation of the helicopter flights in our airspace”, the applicants quoted Hasan as saying in interviews with foreign television news channels. According to them, Hasan also said that Pakistan knew about Bin Laden’s whereabouts and had helped the Americans get him.
The applicants said Mehreen Zahra also quoted Mansoor Ijaz in the December 3 issue of Newsweek that “Ambassador Haqqani and President Asif Ali Zardari had prior knowledge of the US stealth mission to eliminate Osama bin Laden.”
They requested the court to ensure Hasan’s presence through the ministry of foreign affairs for an examination by the court itself or any commission so appointed by the court for the purpose.
In an interview with India’s NDTV, Hasan said: “Pakistan intelligence agencies – like the CIA – had been monitoring him. And they had known where he was. And that’s how the Americans reached him. The Americans could not have reached him without our help.”
The two PML-N legislators asked the court to also restrain Hasan from travelling abroad, after he comes to Pakistan, unless the court satisfies itself of the entire background of the raid. They also asked the court to summon two journalists, Shaheen Sehbai and Mohammad Malick, who had reported on Hasan’s claim that the Pakistani authorities knew about the Bin Laden raid in advance.
According to a statement issued from London on December 8, 2011, Hasan had clarified that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s ‘felicitations to the Americans for hunting down the al Qaeda chief the same day had initially created an impression that the operation was an outcome of the shared knowledge and intelligence of the two sides”.
“During my later interaction with the media when complete facts came to light, I had repeatedly mentioned that Pakistan was stabbed in the back because, as a coalition partner in the war on terror, there was very close liaison between the intelligence networks of the two countries but the information about OBL’s presence in Abbottabad and the operation to hunt him down were not shared with Pakistan,” he clarified.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2011.