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.