The Abbottabad Commission, tasked with investigating the death of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, is all set to re-examine evidence in light of the recent claim that he was dead before raiding American commandos entered his room, sources revealed.“The circumstances narrated in the books do not match our findings”, a member of the Abbottabad Commission said on Thursday.
The re-examination of evidence is likely to further delay the findings of the report which is already late after almost one year of investigation.
The commission, according to leaked reports that had earlier appeared in national media, had concluded that bin Laden was shot from pointblank range by one of the commandos who took part in the midnight raid on May 2, 2001.
However, a book supposedly being written by one of the Navy SEALs commandos participating in the operation to kill bin Laden claims that the world’s most wanted man was already dead when American forces reached his room in the upper storey of the compound.
Speculation surrounding the book is rife after segments from its contents were leaked to the media before its official release causing the CIA and Pentagon to initiate a review of the manuscript to ensure no classified information is leaked to the public.
Similarly another book, already in the stores, has claimed that the operation in the garrison city of Abbottabad, close to a top military training facility, was a joint venture of Pakistani and American forces.
Nevertheless, the top brass of the Pakistani military has denied any involvement in the killing of terror network chief, stating that the raid is viewed as a unilateral violation of the territorial integrity of the country.
“This is where we face contradictions, which is why we would like to know more before we make our report public,” said the member, who did not want to be named because of the sensitivity surrounding the matter.
It is still not clear whether the commission would try to reach out the authors of the book for verification of the claims.
But the member said the commission could once again call military and intelligence leaders to explain if it was a joint operation and whether anyone in Pakistan was aware of the American raid that was widely criticized across the country.
Insiders privy to the commission’s working told The Express Tribune on Thursday there was huge pressure on the probe body to not share its findings with the public.
Rather, the official added, certain powerful quarters want the commission to submit its report to the government without sharing it with media, as announced by the commission’s chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal.
The commission has missed several deadlines, including the latest announcement, saying that the findings of the report would be made public by the end of May.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2012.