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Updated: June 6, 2013 13:55 IST

Kayani: ‘It is unjust to criticize Pakistan’ for not locating Osama

A. Srivathsan
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Pakistan's Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani felt it was difficult to get support from local communities in counter-terrorism operations.
File Photo: AP
Pakistan's Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani felt it was difficult to get support from local communities in counter-terrorism operations.

Defending Pakistan's track record in pursuing and capturing al-Qaeda operatives, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan Chief of Army Staff, who was “held in high regard by the US Military” told visiting Senator Joseph Lieberman and U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan who accompanied him, in 2008, that “it was unjust to criticize Pakistan” for not locating Osama and his cohorts. Though the Pakistan army is favorably disposed to cooperation with the US, he felt that more visibility of its cooperation would impede military to military relationship because of “domestic political climate.”

A cable (136916:confidential) sent on January 11, 2008 from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, documented a meeting between U.S. Ambassador and Mr. Lieberman, and General Kayani. Mr. Lieberman raised the issue of locating Osama and the potential threat to the U.S.-Pakistan relationship during this meeting. He mentioned that the greatest threat facing the relationship between two countries was another terrorist attack on the U.S. In this context, General Kayani pointed that “statements by U.S. politicians and public figures suggesting the U.S. would take direct military action in Pakistan” would have a “detrimental effect.” While Mr. Lieberman agreed with General Kayani's remarks, he explained that such statements receive more media attention in Pakistan than in the U.S.

General Kayani felt that one of the challenges faced by the Pakistan army in its anti-terrorism strategy is the “centuries' old traditions and enmities” prevalent in many areas in Pakistan. This, in his opinion, made it difficult to secure the confidence and support of local communities. Hence, Kayani felt, that only a “pure military solution” will not yield result but it needed to be supplemented with civic and economic assistance that would bring basic services to remote areas. He assured Mr. Lieberman that Coalition Support Funds were being used appropriately in support of counterterrorism efforts.

When Mr. Lieberman pointed that Pakistan could emerge stronger if it sorted out its domestic issues better such as holding credible elections, General Kayani defensively explained that Pakistan's “political events needed to be viewed within its larger, historical and security context challenges it faced.”

Before concluding the meeting, General Kayani gave Mr. Lieberman a wish list seeking technical assistance in Intercept satellite phones (Thuraya), enhanced capability to monitor mobile phones, Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance and Aerial Collection Platform to intercept low power radio transmissions.

'Intelligence' is the key word for the army of any country. It is not unique only to Pakistan. India did not have even an iota of intelligence when the militants crossed over to Indian side of the LOC and occupied the heights in the Kargils. The difference is Pakistan played with the trust of India then and with the world powers now. All along the way, the ally in the fight against terrorism, has not been honest. The ISI that operates under the army has a different agenda than that of the civilian government. India becomes a victim of dealing with different entities in Pakistan as never there was a strong democratic government. Since 9/11, USA and the western world together have been pouring funds into Pakistan. As admitted by General Musharf, Osama was living in Pakistan under the very nose of those intelligent operatives ISI. India has cautioned the world powers off on on about Pakistan's dubicious intesions of joing the fight against terrorism. The funds were diverted to streangthen the armed forces agianst India, where as India does not pose a threat at all. It is Pakistan's mere assumption to create India as an enemy and not the militants she created. Well the time is assertive and confirming the folly of Paksitan. After the 26/11, it is Pakistan not India, that suffers from the evil of terrorism. At least at this juncture, Pakistan must open to the bitter realities and understand the dangerous path she has taken and cooperate with the interntional community to erradicate the terror infrastructures within her territory. In this clean up, Pakistn may have to sacrifice not 5000 solders as claimed by the ambassador of the USA, many more. Pakistan's claim of "victim" of terrorism is a cry in the wilderness, as it has no justification, mere crockdile tears. The politics and geography of the terrain requires Pakistan to work with India not China or the USA. She may not realize the wisdom now but times are around the corner and the events unfolding within her will compell Paksitan to plead for India's assistance including military,to free her from the clutches of terrorism.

from:  Robert mathew
Posted on: May 23, 2011 at 18:02 IST

Gen Kayani seems to be living in a different world. IF he did not have the information about Osama living under his nose, someone in the Military Hierarchy would have had the information. If the command structure under him Gen Kayani is so weak, the blame should be attributed to him. Instead of taking the punch on the chin, he is hiding under the track record of co-operation.
US administrations under either of the parties have supported Pakistan's military juntas ( I think Kayani calls the shot in the country now, Zardari is just the figure head) to further their own geo-political agenda. The Osama saga has been failure for the Foreign Policy advisers of the US.

from:  Mani Sandilya
Posted on: May 4, 2011 at 16:49 IST

Kayani has to be thinking mid-day all day. Was he not the head of ISI under President/General Pervez Musharaff? At least President Musharaff conceded that bin Laden was in Pakistan - he was smart enough to have not said that he knew that the man was in Abbottabad. Most Pakistanis have sufficient problems not to be overly concerned with 'regaining' Kashmir, developing, with Chinese help, nuclear and ballistic missiles while eating 'grass' and on making Pakistan the equal of India - look at the muted reaction to bin Laden's death. Give Pakistan a guarantee that it will not be invaded and force it to look after the non-Punjabis - there has to be a limit to indulging selfish elites. I find it hard to believe that the Quaid e-Azam was sent to Dhaka to tell the Bengalis to forget Benagali and learn Urdu

from:  Dr. Brahman Sivaprakasapillai
Posted on: May 4, 2011 at 00:43 IST
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