Musharraf and OBL


Recently, it has been reported that an ex-security chief in Pakistan has accused former President Pervez Musharraf of knowing bin Laden’s hideout and saying nothing. In an article for American news website The Daily Beast, former Central Intelligence Agency official Bruce Riedel quoted former director-general of the ISI Lt Gen (retd) Ziauddin Khwaja as saying that Musharraf “knew Bin Laden was in Abbottabad”. This report is another piece of the campaign that targets Musharraf without any proof and is only aimed at causing mischief. The source of the article is not trustworthy as he had enmity with Musharraf. The writer also seems to be particularly biased against Musharraf as he wrote an article last year calling for the former president to be accountable for the OBL saga.

Since this article was published two things have happened: Ziauddin Khwaja has categorically denied that he made the allegations and said that he was misquoted in the article. Secondly, former Intelligence Bureau (IB) DG Ijaz Shah is filing a defamation suit against the ex-ISI chief for alleging that he provided the OBL hideout. Both these rebuttals render the article by Bruce Riedel bare and meaningless. The issue is not newsworthy anymore. If Musharraf knew in his time that OBL was in Pakistan, then the current government should also have known and should be held accountable. Bruce Reidel also says that the former president should be questioned the next time he visits the USA and fails to realise that the former president is highly respected in America.

The country does not need to waste its time in non-issues; it is our involvement in the past conflicts that hinders our ability to move forward. Statements that somehow regularly come up and pique public interest are not in national interest and should not be paid any heed.