The United States was reminded of its own role in the creation of the al-Qaeda by Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Monday while picking up cudgels in Parliament for the armed forces and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), which are under attack from all quarters for the presence of Osama bin Laden in the country and the covert American operation that killed him.
Stating that Pakistan alone could not be held accountable for “flawed policies and blunders of others,” Mr. Gilani provided a crash course in history: “I talk of a bygone era. However, it is perhaps necessary to remind everyone about that era, which has been so well documented, including in the CNN series on the Cold War showing video footage of high ranking U.S. officials exhorting the Afghans and the Mujahideen to wage jihad, to go back to their homes, to go back to their mosques, in the name of Islam and as a national duty…
“It's necessary for us to remind the international community of the decade of the nineties, which saw the Arab volunteers who had joined the Jihad mutate into the al-Qaeda? Who was responsible for the birth of the al-Qaeda? Who was responsible for making the myth of Osama bin Laden?
“To find answers to today's question, it is necessary to revisit the not-so-distant past. Collectively, we must acknowledge facts and see our faces in the mirror of history.''
Borrowing a quote from U.S. President Barack Obama's May 2 announcement regarding Osama's death, Mr. Gilani said his elimination was indeed “justice done,” but cautioned against declaration of victory. “The myth and legacy of Osama bin Laden remains to be demolished,” he added, elaborating that the anger and frustration of ordinary people over injustice, oppression and tyranny that Osama sought to harness to fuel the fire of terrorism in the world need to be addressed. “Otherwise, this rage will find new ways of expression.”
Battling the charge that Pakistan was complicit in Osama's presence here, the Prime Minister said it was “disingenuous” for anyone to blame the country or its institutions, including the ISI and the armed forces, for being in cahoots with the al-Qaeda. Rejecting the charge of complicity, he asserted that detractors would not be allowed to succeed in “offloading their own shortcomings and errors of omission and commission in a blame game that stigmatises Pakistan.”