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Pakistan Braces for Osama Bin Laden Killing Backlash

Posted by on Tuesday, May 3, 2011, 12:41
This news item was posted in Current Affairs category and has 2 Comments so far .

Pakistan braced Tuesday for a backlash over the killing of Osama bin Laden by American commandos, fearful of a wave of revenge attacks and the potential political fallout for a teetering government.

Osama Bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden

The night-time helicopter raid by dozens of US special forces — who were operating independently on Pakistani soil — ended a decade-long manhunt for the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

Washington said shared intelligence led military operatives to the Al-Qaeda leader’s villa hideout, 30 miles (50 kilometres) from the Pakistani capital, but Islamabad was deliberately kept in the dark about the raid.

The “war on terror” allies have clashed repeatedly in the past with Pakistan criticising the US for infringing its sovereign territory on the Afghan border, but Islamabad has said little about the bin Laden raid, fearing repercussions.

In the wake of bin Laden’s death the United States again pointed the finger at Pakistan, questioning how he had been able to hide out in a fortified compound so close to the nation’s capital “for an extended period of time”.

Pakistan’s main Taliban faction reacted angrily to the announced death of the Al-Qaeda number one, promising to “avenge his death and launch attacks against American and Pakistani governments and their security forces”.

Pakistan has beefed up security across major cities, diplomatic installations and around the site of the killing in Abbottabad.

More troops were deployed in Islamabad to safeguard government offices and the city’s diplomatic enclave, while in Lahore and Karachi, the two biggest cities, extra road blocks and barbed wire were laid around sensitive buildings.

“We have tightened security measures to avoid any possible backlash from the militants,” said senior Karachi police official Fayyaz Khan.

“So far we have no specific threat, but we are making all efforts to frustrate extremists.”

The United States has put its embassies on alert and warned citizens of possible reprisal attacks following the shooting at the imposing villa which American intelligence agencies had been watching since last August.

Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad — a leafy town that is home to an elite Pakistani military academy — has raised new questions about the government’s zeal for prosecuting the war on terror.

US officials made clear Pakistan was not informed about the operation in advance. For four hours there was silence in Islamabad.

President Asif Ali Zardari convened emergency talks behind closed doors with security chiefs, before a carefully worded statement was issued.

Asked in an AFP interview about the extent of Pakistani cooperation, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said: “I don’t know the details, I don’t know minute details, but in short we have intelligence cooperation.”

He described bin Laden’s death as a “great victory” and said Pakistan will not allow its territory to be used for terrorism, but the lack of details highlighted perceptions that the civilian government has a tenuous grip.

Analyst Talat Masood said the ignorance of senior officials over the operation would fuel widespread belief among ordinary people that their establishment was acting as a lackey to the global superpower.

“The fact that our intelligence did not find out, it was Americans who found him, is a reflection on the intelligence agencies and military in Pakistan.

“Pakistanis think it was a breach of Pakistan sovereignty that they came here and committed all this… it hurts ordinary Pakistanis.”

Embarrassment over the operation could also spell trouble for the government, which rules a fragile coalition of political parties in a stalemate parliament, and embolden the opposition and religious parties.

“The Pakistani government and the military seem increasingly helpless before the US,” the deputy head of the influential Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, Liaqat Baloch, told AFP.

Hundreds of people on Monday took to the streets in the southwestern city of Quetta, close to neighbouring Afghanistan, to denounce America, burn a US flag and pay homage to the Al-Qaeda mastermind.

“Bin Laden was a hero of the Muslim world and after his martyrdom he has won the title of great mujahed (Muslim fighter),” said lawmaker Maulawi Asmatullah who led the protest.

“His martyrdom will not end the movement, it will continue and thousands more bin Ladens will be born,” he said.

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2 Responses to “Pakistan Braces for Osama Bin Laden Killing Backlash”

  1. Jeff H in TX
    2011.05.04 02:53

    “Pakistanis think it was a breach of Pakistan sovereignty that they came here and committed all this… it hurts ordinary Pakistanis.”

    Yeah well…now you know how we felt for ten years. It was a breach of US sovereignty when Osama sent his hijackers into the World Trade Center to kill three thousand people, some of them MUSLIMS, by the way.
    I know…I know, if I ask “what would Pakistanis prefer we had done if we knew that bin Laden was living in Abottabad”, they would say they prefer we let the authorities know so it could be handled locally.

    Sorry dear friends. Too many times “local authorities” turned out to be sympathetic to bin Laden.
    Simply put, this raid was not done to injure the sovereignty of Pakistan, it was done to stop the bleeding of American soldiers. With bin Laden out of the way, all the more reason Americans will call for a rapid withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
    Trust me when I tell you that a great many Americans DON’T want our soldiers there anymore.
    And please trust me when I say most Americans would want to see a strong and secure Pakistan, a Pakistan which does not harbor people like Osama bin Laden.
    The ONLY reason he chose your country was because he believed your government was weak.
    So in essence, he exploited your people and injured your sovereignty much more than we did.

    And to those who revere him as a holy warrior, you’re on the wrong side of history.

  2. tjmaxwell
    2011.05.05 20:25

    Posted: In the wake of bin Laden’s death the United States again pointed the finger at Pakistan, questioning how he had been able to hide out in a fortified compound so close to the nation’s capital “for an extended period of time”. HOW, we have those ten hard drives that tell us ALL we need to know, who was involved and who was complesent. Leave us alone and we will close oour boarders and let no one in our country. But those on the “list” will pay the Mother of All Prices.

    :mrgreen: 😯

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