In a surprise for morning readers, the weekend International New York Times edition dated March 22-23, which is distributed along with The Express Tribune here, had a huge blank section on its front page.
The article that was blanked out was “What Pakistan knew about Bin Laden” by Carlotta Gall which appeared earlier in other editions on the front page and can be viewed online. The article, which is an extract from her forthcoming book, is continued on page two but in the edition in Islamabad, there is a full-page advertisement for The Express Tribune, which is the paper’s partner. It is printed in three cities in Pakistan.
Ms. Gall’s excerpt says, “Soon after the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden’s house, a Pakistani official told me that the United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. The information came from a senior United States official, and I guessed that the Americans had intercepted a phone call of Pasha’s or one about him in the days after the raid. “He knew of Osama’s whereabouts, yes,” the Pakistani official told me. The official was surprised to learn this and said the Americans were even more so. Pasha had been an energetic opponent of the Taliban. “Pasha was always their blue-eyed boy,” the official said. But in the weeks and months after the raid, Pasha and the ISI press office strenuously denied that they had any knowledge of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad.”
The director general Inter Services Public Relations on Thursday had said the allegations of Ms. Gall in her article which appeared on March 19 were baseless and ridiculous. Intelligence sources on Wednesday said there was no truth in The New York Times report which said that the then ISI chief Lt. General Ahmad Shuja Pasha knew of the presence of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.