Abbottabad raid: Commission ‘expects’ apologies for lapses

Published: July 9, 2013
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The commission had investigated around 46 questions from several dozens of officials and civilians to compile a comprehensive report on the incident.  PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

The commission had investigated around 46 questions from several dozens of officials and civilians to compile a comprehensive report on the incident. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

ISLAMABAD: Without naming anyone, the Abbottabad Commission investigating the circumstances surrounding the Osama bin Laden raid said in its report that the country’s civil and military leadership should apologise to the nation for their “collective failure”.

The report was leaked to Al Jazeera news network and posted on its website on Monday.

The commission, however, has not named individuals or suggested punishment for those who were ignorant about the presence of the al Qaeda leader or the US raid in Abbottabad to kill Bin Laden on May 2, 2011.

“It is unnecessary to specifically name them because it is obvious who they are,” said the report.

The report says, “It may be politically unrealistic to suggest ‘punishments’ for them. But as honourable men, they ought to do the honourable thing, including submitting a formal apology to the nation for their dereliction.”

The report also faulted “low level officials” who “failed to discharge their duties professionally and dutifully, and for which they deserve to be reprimanded. But finally, no honest assessment of the situation can escape the conclusion that those individuals who wielded primary authority and influence in the national decision making bear the primary responsibility for creating the national  circumstances and environment in which the May 2, 2011 incident occurred.”

Testimonies

Former interior minister Rehman Malik’s testimony has been recorded in the commission saying that the al Qaeda fugitive eluded notice due to collective intelligence failure. “It was the cumulative result of many interwoven issues. Low level administrative and security officials like the patwari, constable, SHO, revenue department and other agencies had failed to pick up the signs of the presence of such a famous fugitive,” Malik is reported to have said.

The Abbottabad commission after interviewing officials from the ministry of interior observed in its findings that “the administrative confusion about who is in charge of what, resulted in lack of coordination and a turf war between organisations. When adverse developments occurred a game of passing the buck took place.”

Commenting on the statements of Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hassan on international media where he claimed that “whatever has happened, has happened with our consent,” the commission observed that seldom has a high commissioner made a more dishonest or absurd statement without any clearance from his superiors.

The commission noted that the defence minister’s testimony was disarmingly candid where “he seemed to recognise that, as a civilian, he had no authority to meddle in defence and security affairs.”

Government response

While making observations with regard to the response of the government after the May 2 incident, the commission noted that the government never asked the law ministry to give its legal input with regard to the US assault against Pakistan. The commission added while the policy response of the government constituted a violation of its constitutional obligations to defend the country’s sovereignty, its legal response was nonexistent. The country was made to look ridiculous by the government before its own people,” the commission observed in para 524 of the report.

The commission had investigated around 46 questions from several dozens of officials and civilians to compile a comprehensive report on the incident.

On the night of May 2, when US helicopters were hovering over the compound, the commission quoted Amal, one of the wives of al Qaeda chief as saying that she reached to “turn on the light but the Shaikh said “No” and then told her wife and children that American helicopters had arrived and they should all leave his room immediately. “The Shaikh reached for his weapon.”

After the raiders killed OBL, they asked his daughter to identify the body, and his daughter said “my father.” Her other sister was asked the same question and she replied “Abdullah Bin Muhammad” which puzzled them.

Maryam, wife of Ibrahim, said the American soldiers spoke Arabic and Urdu. She said that the Americans were in the house for between 30 minutes to an hour from the time they killed Ibrahim. The commission noted that Maryam’s testimony was generally credible but some parts were suspect.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • a_writer
    Jul 9, 2013 - 3:19AM

    337 pages report to state the obvious? Hmm

    Recommend

  • AnisAqeel
    Jul 9, 2013 - 3:35AM

    So nobody’s fault except Shakil Afridi who helped locate this murderer of thousands. In Pakistan mentality has been reversed completely and a hero is labelled as a criminal and sentenced to 33 years but a murderer is a hero who admitted and shouted that he has killed!

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  • Obvious
    Jul 9, 2013 - 4:03AM

    US aircraft entered Pakistan airspace at 11:20pm – left at 2:26am – inside Pakistan for 3 hours and as a former PAF chief said: PAF was sleeping. Simply PATHETIC.
    .
    2:07am Gen Kiyani informs Air Chief to scramble aircraft.
    2:50am F-16 airborne from Mushaf Base. Takes 47 minutes to mount a response, that too after ARMY chief informs air chief.
    .
    And as usual, no meaningful action, policy, remedies will be enacted. Report will just be another useless pile of paper.

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  • Jul 9, 2013 - 4:21AM

    An official apology from the Army and the civilian leaders for how they failed country in this occasion? I don’t see that coming anytime soon. Afterall we still have to officially apologize for what we did to the Bangladeshi people in 1970 and before that.

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  • dalhater
    Jul 9, 2013 - 4:51AM

    Hahaha.. u guys crack me up by trying to hide the Sun with 2 fingers, so you are telling me that OBL just bought a house right in front of your biggest military installation in Abottabad without your brave army whom 93,000 of them had surrendered to an Indian army in one day, had no Idea? You really expect the world to believe that?

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  • Saleem
    Jul 9, 2013 - 5:39AM

    No, mere apologies are not needed. This report was pushed under the rug to save skin of lot of big people. Not only should their heads be rolled but also they be tried for their incompetence.

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  • Quantum
    Jul 9, 2013 - 6:18AM

    Pretty detailed dossier about the raid. Kudos to Asma Jehangir, a very potent democrat and human right activist.

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  • Polpot
    Jul 9, 2013 - 6:33AM

    Shouldnt Kayani also be tried for incompetence ?
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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  • Kulwant Singh
    Jul 9, 2013 - 6:56AM

    Strange Mr. Rehman Malik says that Patwari,Constale.SHO and other low level revenue officials failed to do their duty because they failed to pick up the signs of the presence of such fanous fugitive,

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  • Sidrah
    Jul 9, 2013 - 7:33AM

    I refuse to believe that the Pakistan army had no idea OBL was there.

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  • quantum
    Jul 9, 2013 - 8:17AM

    Kudos to Asma Jehangir. She is a great democrat and honorable human right activist. She did a great job writing this report.

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  • ;-)chief
    Jul 9, 2013 - 8:19AM

    Just an apology……..?????

    Very pathetic……….!!!!

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  • quantum
    Jul 9, 2013 - 8:20AM

    @a_writer:

    It is called govt. beauracracy.

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  • amit (India)
    Jul 9, 2013 - 9:02AM

    I guess the only one really guilty here was the doctor who helped locate the terrorist-murderer. Thankfully, that ‘traitor’ is now in prison. I know its difficult for a government or an army to admit that they were wrong, but the least they can do is to release the doctor.

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  • quantum
    Jul 9, 2013 - 9:08AM

    Instead of blaming America they should seek help from America in securing
    Pakistan’s border. they should also publish rejoinder where they can praise America to bring the world number terrorist to RIP.

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  • The Patriotic
    Jul 9, 2013 - 9:57AM

    Our forces will ALWAYS sleep on all such occasions like OBL case and still they will pretend to be the best force in the world. They are so Proudy….It’s time they should appologise the whole nation for the complete failure and do a lot to put confidennce in the people of this country….

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  • Sajid Iqbal
    Jul 9, 2013 - 10:19AM

    @quantum:
    Asma Jehangir was not even part of the commission. What are you thanking her for?

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  • The Pakistani
    Jul 9, 2013 - 10:25AM

    I refuse to believe that the Pakistan army had no idea OBL was there. They do not want to share information with the public. It’s my firm belief that OSAMA must have died long ago before this raid as his kidneys had failed and he was on Dialysis sustaining his life and such patient hardly live for 2 / 3 years….

    Recommend

  • ahmed
    Jul 9, 2013 - 10:53AM

    we have more accountability of our cricket team than of our army and intelligence agencies

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  • peter
    Jul 9, 2013 - 11:04AM

    lets face it, Pakistan is a failed state, no institutions, no law and order, and no respects for human values. Fundamentalist is rife and secularism is dead. Pakistan has no hope.

    Recommend

  • Quantum
    Jul 9, 2013 - 4:34PM

    @Sajid Iqbal:

    My apologies to the reader for misquoting.

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  • Polpot
    Jul 9, 2013 - 5:07PM

    “Abbottabad raid: Commission ‘expects’ apologies for lapses”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Wait you are in queue. First aplogies for the 1971 East Pakistan debacle.

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  • Polpot
    Jul 9, 2013 - 5:41PM

    @ahmed: “we have more accountability of our cricket team than of our army and intelligence agencies”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    That may be so but the performance of the cricket team and the army are more or less the same.

    Recommend

  • Polpot
    Jul 9, 2013 - 5:43PM

    “The commission noted that the defence minister’s testimony was disarmingly candid where “he seemed to recognise that, as a civilian, he had no authority to meddle in defence and security affairs.””
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Now just extend that to other ministries…eg Finance Minster having authority….:)

    Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Jul 9, 2013 - 5:45PM

    @AnisAqeel:
    @Obvious:
    No a bad analysis! Now you people should tell us about the stealth helicopters which were spotted by naked eye when they crossed across the border, were challenged but let go as soon as they received the signal of “hot pursuit”, and this info was instantly passed on to Pakistan military brass who informed Mr Zardari, the current President!!! If you cannot then wait for the second report. By the way the CIA paid spy is in prison for his own safety!

    Now please do not compare Pakistan lousy preformnce with the American performance when the arab students struck America on several spots without being challenged during the operation. Both are classified as surprise attacks!!

    Rex Minor

    Recommend

  • Ek Tha Kashmiri
    Jul 10, 2013 - 10:37PM

    Waste of taxpayers money again when result is obvious:(((

    Recommend

  • Assad
    Jul 11, 2013 - 2:32AM

    @Obvious:
    You do realize that they (PAF) had no vectors to turn to. What were they suppose to intercept?

    Recommend

  • Jul 20, 2013 - 7:38PM

    Then much more friends could talk about this concernRecommend

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