Osama bin Ladin and Pakistan

What does a death of Osama bin Laden mean for Pakistan?


1. Osama bin Laden was in a mansion just 62 miles north of Islamabad. Do you think it supports the theory at least some element within the ISI or other security and intelligence agencies has helped him and if you think they helped him why they did this?

2. What does a death of Osama bin Ladin mean for Pakistan and for a fight against the terrorism in Pakistan?

3. Should we expect some demonstrations or attacks because of a joint US-Pakistani operation against Osama bin Ladin (at least on some level it seem it was the joint operation) against Osama bin Ladin and generally how would you describe the reactions of the people Pakistan on his death?


Mosharraf Zaidi, Former adviser on international aid to Pakistan for the United Nations and European Union, he  writes a weekly colum for Pakistan’s The News

1. It seems improbable that Pakistan’s vast security establishment would not know that Osama Bin Laden was a resident in a small housing community in Abbotabad. To what extent was the knowledge of him being here also supported by a proactive element of support is hard to say.

2. His death will deflate and further the evolution of AlQaeda into oblivion. But splinter groups and radicals by him will naturally attempt to avenge this extremely significant and important scalp in the war against violent extremism.

3. It is almost certain that, as always, the Pakistani state will seek to manipulate the emotions of its people and, in the words of Noam Chomsky, attempt to “manufacture consent”. The diversity of opinion and multiplicity of news media outlets here and globally however will make that task desperately difficult for the Pakistani state and security establishment. Bin Laden has less than 3% approval ratings in Pakistan, so the notion of genuine popular demonstrations are almost entirely and necessarily fabricated. They would not represent popular sentiment at all.

Aqab Malik, Assistant Professor, National Defence University, Consultant at National Counter Terrorism Authority

The truth is, at this point not much can be made of the situation until relevant players show their hands.

It’s not good that he was hiding in Abbotabad. Not good for Pakistan.

I find it difficult to understand how he has been unnoticed for so long if he was there for a while. Furthermore, what part did the Pak Mil play? And did the agencies have any part to play in this?

Remember the urgency of visits to Pak in the past couple of weeks, ESP, Adm Mullen. Surely, the pressure on Pak, in retrospect had a direction. Now we know.

I think the pressure to launch an op in NWA will be greater, but, so too reprisals. Especially since the jihadist icon has been terminated.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was presenting at an International Conference in Singapore on CBRN-E threats to Pak. When the animal is cornered, it’s unpredictable. Thus, the Jihadists. And again, to sustain credibility, they must launch attacks. More likely than not, they will be daring and significant. And, depending on the types of attacks, the targets and munitions used, we may see relative consequences. What if India sees a devastating terrorist attack? What will be the likely consequences? Mobilization? Pre-empted strikes into Pak? Can we discount this? Since, their credibility is also at stake. Otherwise, it’s all hot air that has been vented over the past couple of years since Mumbai. All I can say is that the relative calm, by Pak standards, will evaporate in the next few days to weeks.

Demonstrations are highly likely to erupt spontaneously throughout the country. In fact, security has already been stepped up with additional checkpoints being placed throughout Islamabad.

I think that the tension will reflect upon the standing that the PPP govt has amongst the population. They are increasingly being seen as American Stooges. Remember, the vast majority of the population is very anti-American in any case.

Whatever his ills, Osama was seen as a hero by large sections of the population, and in their eyes, he was martyred. It was what he had wanted, rather than die through his medical condition by natural causes.

Unfortunately, much of this is speculation, and no one can say what will happen with surety. Nevertheless, the threat levels have been raised significantly.


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