Clinton’s accusations

Published: May 9, 2012
Clinton said she believed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is hiding in Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Clinton said she believed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is hiding in Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

The Foreign Office may be the only entity in the world unaware of the fact that Pakistan has been used as a hideout by al Qaeda and its various allies. A day after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she believed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is hiding in Pakistan, the Foreign Office responded by rubbishing the allegations. We have seen this game being played out before. In 2010, Clinton made similar allegations about then-al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and the Foreign Office was similarly outraged at the suggestion. A year later, Osama was found in the garrison town of Abbottabad. With Osama, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Attash and Ramzi bin al-Shibh being among the many of senior al Qaeda operatives who were found in Pakistan, we have lost all plausible deniability.

Instead of issuing denials, we would be better served by acknowledging the possibility that we have terrorists in our midst and then explaining to the US how finding them can be like searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack. The problem is that right now no one is inclined to buy those explanations. When the US and Afghanistan decided to start negotiations with the Afghan Taliban, with the chance of us being sidelined from the process, we were able to capture Mullah Omar’s second-in-command Mullah Baradar. With the US having levelled accusations that our intelligence agencies may be supporting the Afghan Taliban, such actions, based on self-interest, serve only to confirm its worst fears.

In this background, for Clinton to say what she did and follow it up with a plea for Pakistan to work harder to capture militants was not too inappropriate. What she should have been more careful about was the venue where her accusations were made. She gave this speech in India, which was sure to raise Pakistani hackles. But ultimately, whatever the venue, the responsibility is on us to root out militants that have found it all too easy to hide in our country.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Cautious
    May 9, 2012 - 12:36AM

    With all due respect – Clinton has made this same speech many times in a variety of forums and if Pakistan is irked that she repeated the speech in India – tough!


  • Khosrow
    May 9, 2012 - 12:48AM

    Is this an American newspaper or a Pakistani one?


  • mashrooom
    May 9, 2012 - 1:17AM

    Alas…pakistan was unlucky that there were no dispute over abbottabad ,else we could have blamed it easily on nehru .


  • Arindom
    May 9, 2012 - 1:50AM

    Clinton’s accusations were true before…..and there is no reason to believe the current one is not!!


  • sundar
    May 9, 2012 - 2:52AM

    Your words makes lot of sense as usual except where you state finding them can be like searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack.
    History tells us most of the terrorists,if not all, are in the Pak security establishment’s inventory. If there is a will there will be a way.


  • Mirza
    May 9, 2012 - 3:04AM

    No American would make these remarks if Pakistan tells the truth about OBL’s comfortable life in an army base, even after one year. In addition, Pakistan has to help find and punish the other high value targets not protest against their killing. Many Pakistanis including the generals are outraged at the finding and killing of OBL, why? If Pakistan were sincere in their war against the terrorists there should have been a euphoria not sadness at the killing of OBL. Simple questions, when would we start telling the truth if ever? Is that so difficult for Pakistan?


  • You Said It
    May 9, 2012 - 3:32AM

    What she should have been more careful about was the venue where her accusations were made. She gave this speech in India, which was sure to raise Pakistani hackles.

    If Pakistan doesn’t care about terrorists using the country as safe haven, it is ridiculous of us to say that Clinton should be careful about where she says so. All US officials have said the same thing dozens of times, and look how much difference that has made to Pakistan. So if you think about it, India is the perfect place to say it, because at least it gets our attention.

    Of course, the fact that Clinton made a statement in India still doesn’t explain why our Foreign Minister makes statements of denial that only makes the whole country look stupid.


  • JD
    May 9, 2012 - 5:35AM

    Clinton’s picture says it all – about her mindset/ IQ / Current mental state.


  • Baby ka Husband
    May 9, 2012 - 5:38AM

    Something happens to Americans when they land in India??? They make cross-border accusations to appease Indians as a way make them like Americans. It must be something in the curry they serve. Garm-Masala must really get to them!!!


  • May 9, 2012 - 6:22AM

    @cautious Check your facts, she never does on a visit to Pakistan. Why Pakistan is an issue whenever she comes to India, specially when her trip is meant to stop India from cooperation with Iran. Rings a bell, doesn’t it???


  • vasan
    May 9, 2012 - 6:39AM

    Very very sensible editorial.


  • Billoo Bhaya
    May 9, 2012 - 6:50AM

    She looks in the picture that she has had enough of the job. Or, perhaps someone gave her something to eat and it reached all those places in your body that it was not meant to???


  • Billoo Bhaya
    May 9, 2012 - 7:13AM

    I have the same question???


  • Hindustani
    May 9, 2012 - 7:40AM

    @Mashroom. LOL


    What I totally fail to understand, even fools are woken up after a few whips. But why is not Pakistan waking up after thousands of whips?

    The only reasonable explanation is that Pakistan is no fool. Pakistan is insane.


  • anony
    May 9, 2012 - 8:04AM

    LOL @ the pic


  • Feroz
    May 9, 2012 - 8:10AM

    For years many sensible readers have been writing that the policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hound lacks credibility and carries a heavy cost. One arm of the State cannot claim we are victims of Terrorism while another arm of the same State facilitates their activities and protects them. The finding and killing of Osama Bin Laden comfortably hiding alongside Military barracks has shattered all illusions. It is likely the last nail in the coffin. Instead of showing apology and remorse and sacking all those connected to OBL by going after Dr Afridi the World is being sent a strong and unpleasant message – logic and reason will not work with us, force will. Our RICH will continue to live it up and enjoy, our common people are ever willing to eat GRASS.


  • May 9, 2012 - 8:19AM

    Facts are facts – neither Pakistani nor American.


  • A.Raja Rao
    May 9, 2012 - 9:44AM

    Pakistan claims to have the world’s best spy agency and if it has why does it not find all these terrorists? Why does the Pakistani FO issue its standard denials?


  • anonymous
    May 9, 2012 - 10:00AM

    Only an honest introspection and strong will to correct the evil could help Pakistan. Evil begets only evil. Therefore, a ray of hope really that there are inward looking folks like the author; may God bless and supplement them with much needed support and resources to help restore peace.


  • May 9, 2012 - 12:27PM

    Please,don’t worry,
    it is mere effort to make happy the host country,
    that is timely favorable,try to understand.


  • Imran Con
    May 9, 2012 - 12:45PM

    @Saim Baig:
    Boy should your face be red with that misplaced confident tone in use. Yes she most certainly has visited and said it in Pakistan. Just search for anything about her being called “Pakistan’s impossible to please mother in law.”


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