U.S.-Pakistan and the phone calls after the bin Laden raid

May 14, 2011

Who called whom and when on the night that U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan? Here’s a summary of what has been published so far, with some questions:

Let’s start with President Barack Obama’s speech on May 1 (May 2 in Pakistan) when he announced that bin Laden had been killed in the town of Abbottabad (note the diplomatic finesse in his suggestion that President Asif Ali Zardari was the first to be informed, as would normally be the case in relations between two countries.)

“Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts.  They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations.  And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.”

Here is a reconstruction of events, as described by senior Pakistani journalist Najam Sethi and written after Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Lieutenant General Shuja Pasha (DG-ISI), the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, held a special briefing last week for a select group of senior journalists.

“Shortly after reports of a helicopter mishap in Abbotabad hit the media around 1.20 am, not so far away in Rawalpindi, the DG-ISI (Pasha) was woken up by a phone call about a crashed helicopter. He called his people to ask: ‘Is it ours?’ After a brief check, he was told, ‘no sir, it’s not ours’. He called up DG-MO. (Director General of Military Operations) ‘Is it yours?’ After a brief check he was told, ‘no sir, it’s not ours’. He called up his boys and told them to rush to the scene of the incident. He also called up the COAS (Chief of Army Staff) General Kayani to brief him.

“The COAS called up the top military man in Abbotabad who ordered forces to rush to the area. The COAS also called up the PAF (Pakistan Air Force) Air Chief. The Air Chief checked, explained that radar hadn’t picked up any intruders, and ordered two F-16s to scramble. When the ISI team arrived at the compound, they reported the burning wreckage of the chopper and the markings on its fin. They reported three dead men and one woman. They reported a wounded woman who spoke Arabic and halting English, and two other women who were unharmed. They noted there were sixteen children aged six to eight years approximately. The woman said she was OBL’s wife, along with two other women, and confirmed that OBL and his family had been living in the compound for six years. She said the Americans had attacked them, killed OBL and taken his corpse. Soon thereafter, the army arrived to seal off the area and whisk away the occupants and dead bodies in the compound.

“Around 3 am, Admiral Mullen called General Kayani, and CIA chief, Leon Panetta, called DG-ISI, General Pasha. They explained the nature of the operation and why it had been kept a secret from them. President Obama called President Zardari at 7 am to acquaint him with the facts.”

According to this version then, there was a full four-hour gap between the United States officially informing the Pakistan Army that it had just conducted a raid on its territory, and informing the head of state.  It also leaves a lingering impression that the president remained asleep after Pasha ordered “his boys” to rush round to the compound when bin Laden was killed to find out what happened.

Here is the version given by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in an interview with Omar Waraich at Time magazine:

“The Prime Minister said he was first alerted to the raid by a 2 a.m. call from Pakistan’s army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Gilani then called his Foreign Secretary and asked him to demand an explanation from U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter.”

So did Gilani then call Zardari? And what did the U.S. ambassador tell the foreign secretary? Did they speak before, or after Obama officially informed Pakistan’s president about the raid?

Here is another version, in a report in The Express Tribune giving a reconstructed account of what Pasha said in an in-camera briefing on Friday to a special joint sitting of parliament, held at Kayani’s suggestion.

“Though Pasha was careful not to blame the civilian leadership of anything, his question was, in essence, directed to the entire leadership of the country: If the top leadership was informed of the operation after it was over at just past 2 am on May 2, as the ISI chief said in his briefing – why wasn’t any sort of emergency meeting called?

“The parliament was informed by Lt Gen Pasha that he had informed Army Chief General Kayani at 2.05am about the American operation – who, in turn, made a telephone call to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and then to the President Zardari. Gilani was said to have then called up the foreign secretary. But there was nothing other than that. Why didn’t the Troika – the President, Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff – meet urgently, and discuss a possible response? Why did the leadership wait for a call from US President Barack Obama at 7 am – five hours after the operation was brought into their knowledge?”

There may be other versions out there, in which case, do please post the links in the comments section. They are not in themselves contradictory. Pasha found out first and called his boss, General Kayani.  The army chief phoned the prime minister and possibly the president.  The Americans — if these accounts are correct — appear to have told their counterparts in the military long before they informed the civilian leadership of Pakistan.

You might argue these are details in the grand scheme of things. But these phone calls do tell us quite a lot about the way power is distributed in Pakistan.

Perhaps most significantly, they give a clue as to how the United States views that distribution of power. Washington has professed to support democracy in Pakistan. Yet by most accounts, the civilian leadership was not only totally caught off-guard by the U.S. raid, but was completely dependent on the military and the ISI to tell them afterwards what had happened.

 In the chaotic aftermath which followed bin Laden’s killing, the civilian government missed an opportunity to assert its authority over the military, which dominates foreign and security policy.  If the United States had really wanted to bolster the civilian government, why did it leave it flailing? An oversight? A question of old habits dying hard? A matter of practical convenience? Or an indication that in Washington’s decades-long preference for dealing directly with the military in Pakistan, nothing has really changed?

                                                                                             *******************************

(Update: Thanks to @AfghanPolicy for pointing out on Twitter that Obama’s speech was on May 1; the events in Pakistan all took place on May 2.  Have added parenthesis making this clear above.)

(Another update via @Saba_Imtiaz – Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said Admiral Mullen called Kayani around 3 am. ”Arranging that call also took some time because they need to get a secure line and it gets time to do so,” he said. ”Subsequently President Obama telephoned our President…”  Meanwhile,  according to Time magazine’s report on the briefing for senior Pakistani journalists, Kayani said the first communication from the United States was a phone call at around 5 a.m.)

(And finally, from the New York Times (italics are mine) : American officials say they believe the top leaders of the country were genuinely surprised about bin Laden’s whereabouts, based on their reaction to phone calls from the administration on the night of the raid and electronic surveillance of Pakistani government communications.)

56 comments

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Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, in the May 5 press briefing:

“I can share with you that as soon as the operation was over Admiral Mullen called the Chief of Army Staff around 3 o clock Pakistan time.”

Posted by SabaImtiaz | Report as abusive

Though, Kayani said at his press briefing that he received the call from Mullen at 5 AM. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0  ,8599,2069920,00.html

Posted by SabaImtiaz | Report as abusive

[...] Post IntelligencerSpinning The Bin Laden TaleNPRChicago Sun-Times -CNN International -Reuters Blogs (blog)all 10,391 news [...]

[...] Post IntelligencerSpinning The Bin Laden TaleNPRChicago Sun-Times -CNN International -Reuters Blogs (blog)all 10,391 news [...]

[...] US-Pakistan and the phone calls after the bin Laden raidReuters Blogs (blog)Who called whom and when on the night that US forces killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan? Here's asummary of what has been published so far, with some questions: Let's start with President Barack Obama's speech on May 2 when he announced that bin Laden …Pakistan's parliament condemns US raidCNN InternationalYou're next, US warnedSydney Morning HeraldPakistan warns US against repeat of bin Laden raidABC OnlineAljazeera.net -Philadelphia Inquirer -Herald Sunall 10,695 news articles » [...]

[...] demanded that an independent commission probe …Pakistan Grills Army But Still Condemns USNPRUS-Pakistan and the phone calls after the bin Laden raidReuters (blog)EDITORIAL: Pakistan-US cooperationDaily TimesDAWN.com -TIME -Hindustan [...]

How does it matter who the US called first? Why are Pakistanis and their sympathizers trying to deflect the attention by raising questions about irrelevant matters? – Why was Pakistan’s sovereignty violated? Why was Pakistan kept in the dark during the operation? Why was Zardari not informed first? And so on.

What matters is the BIG question –

What was Bin Laden doing inside Pakistan, and that too inside a conspicuous building, right near a military contonment, and close to Islamabad? Pakistan has to do the explaining and no one else.

Bin Laden was living there with his harem, porn, and 16 children for six years. Pakistanis and their sympathizers quote the intelligence failure about 9/11 or Mumbai attacks. But they were carried out in a very short time that bringing in an element of surprise. Bin Laden’s case is different. He was the most wanted fugitive. A whole military was camped out in Afghanistan, trying to find him. Pakistan knew how intense the search was and knew the repercussions if he was found hiding inside their country.

No matter what excuses can be given and what deflections tried, the basic question remains – Pakistan is not an ally on the fight to eliminate Islamic terrorism. It is the source of it and it has worked very hard to hide, nurture and grow these militants. The US has managed to keep Pakistan subdued by not allowing these elements to succeed and by chasing them out. Pakistan has worked to slip and slide through all tangles of the web by sometimes sacrificing key elements and pretending to be on the side of the US. That is the reason for keeping them in the dark during the raid by the Navy seals.

This raid has made several things clear – Pakistan cannot be trusted. Its nukes are not safe. The raid simply demonstrated how things can be carried out inside Pakistan while its might military sleeps.

No amount of window dressing will work. Ask the relevant questions and let the Pakistani establishment answer them.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

At 1.30am, private tv channel was airing the eye witness account that before the helicopter crash, there was firing and blasts.
Pak army reached on the spot after half an hour of 40 minutes operation in the military zone.
It only shows that they had prior information regarding the operation and were ordered to remain standby till the completion of operation.

Posted by netaddict | Report as abusive

[...] NewsPakistan's parliament condemns US raidCNN InternationalSydney Morning Herald -Reuters (blog) -BBC Newsall 9,086 news [...]

Myra,
The anatomy of the event is useful if the participants are not involved in any cover up. Obama and co. cover ups would eventualy appear in NYTimes which pays the insiders, Pakistani leaders cover up would be exposed with accusations against the CIA, USA administration and among themselves.
The former ISI chief hinted on the BBC that the residence was cordoned off by the Pakistan military before the attack! One could accept that the actual timing of the mission was not disclosed by the Amis, and this has upset the Pakistanis, equaly, the reason of secrecy given by clintonians in the white house is very shabby and did not take into consideration the sentiments of the highly emotional Pakistanis.

One can only assume that Pakistan current leadership is in full collusion with the American administration with the exception of last act. Panela is the culprit who spoiled the party. They did not want to experience again when Mr Osama esccaped in Afghanistan from Bill Clinton missiles. Even the marines were not trusted this time and Mr Obama did not even trust his wife, per instructions from the CIA chief perhaps?

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Why are Pakistanis and their sympathizers trying >>>to deflect the attention

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive

“The Americans — if these accounts are correct — appear to have told their counterparts in the military long before they informed the civilian leadership of Pakistan.”

Does this surprise anyone. I mean how many people are there in this world who do not know who is in control in Pakistan?

What is baffling though is the purpose of this post. What is the point other than that there are three versions with some differences and that the army was called first. Whatever is new in that? Or is there a more serious hidden point that KP, Netizen and yours truly have missed?

The pertinent point is that the US did not trust their strategic ally with advance information about the raid for fear that the whole mission would be a failure. Most agree with that assumption.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

this article seems to build up to help the civilians vs army in pakistan (one of the recent strong alibis for ak misbehaviour) overlooking- its the army/isi who rule the civilians are merely a fig leaf any change in the power equation would take a generation to achieve theres nothing that can be given to pakistan to support the civvies that would yield results in less than a generation, and in any case the govt and parliament instead of backing the initial zardari line in his wash post op ed or sharifs call for a judicial probe appear to have been realistic- theyve apparently traded a promise (lets see if kept by army) of allowing the present parliament to complete its term and going through a charade of accountability to parliament in exchange for backing the army/isi in this event and increasing the militarys funding; so civvies vs military is a non issue that apologists for the isi are trying to float as a diversionary tactic;
a more interesting question for serious discussion that as arisen in the context of recent articles in the economist and friday times is whether and to what extent china supports pakistan in its confrontation with the usa? both articles, if correct, would infer that pakistan has over played its china card, despite public noises of strong support by China. if so, why? why persist in confronting the usa at this juncture? or is it a case that the pakistani army has received assurances from the pla (increasingly a more assertive, independent and critical power centre in Chinas external relations) in excess of what china’s more pragmatic civvie govt and foreign office have given?

Posted by buntyj | Report as abusive

@Myra

“If the United States had really wanted to bolster the civilian government, why did it leave it flailing? An oversight?”
***Myra what was the purpose of US raid? Kill OBL, not to do an academic exercise of “bolstering the civilian government” in Pakistan at an hour like this. OBL was so close to Islamabad that it is hard to trust anyone in Pak.

US or any sane country would give minimum information to minimum people in this situation.

A question of old habits dying hard? A matter of practical convenience? Or an indication that in Washington’s decades-long preference for dealing directly with the military in Pakistan, nothing has really changed?
***A matter of practical convenience it is.

Is it legal for the US to do so? That is my question which perhaps ?

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive

In my post to Myra, half the sentence was lost.

CORRECTION:
Is it legal for the US to do so? That is my question which perhaps has already been discussed by Reuters in previous articles?

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive

The US is now seriously thinking of what it should do with Pakistan:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/nati onal-security/obama-administration-remai ns-divided-over-future-of-us-pakistan-re lationship/2011/05/13/AFOJcj3G_story.htm l?hpid=z3

Though they may not admit things openly, their body language clearly tells that they have enough intelligence evidence to show that Pakistan’s ISI had kept OBL hidden all these years. May be the material taken away from his safe haven is revealing more links inside Pakistan that the Americans do not want to reveal to the public yet. I am sure Kayani is worried about that material Americans took with them as well. The dumb silence on the part of Pakistani military establishment is a clear sign of fear beginning to grip them. Obama and his strategists might be working on a clear alternative plan to complete their mission, now that it is evident to them that Pakistan has been betraying them. They must be factoring in the shut down of supply route through Pakistan. If that is the case, the US might spread the war into Pakistan by indirect means and cause chaos. In 2001 Musharraf at least had an option to switch sides. Now the US is directly looking at Pakistan the way it looked at the Taliban in 2001. Pakistan’s nukes and missiles are not the worry for the US. This war has finally found its true enemy.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

And Mumbai II is coming:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Targets-in side-India-identified-if-attacked-ISI-ch ief/H1-Article1-697891.aspx

Pasha has said that targets have been identified and rehearsals have been carried out already. Since they can’t do anything to the US, they are trying to rattle India as a means to try getting out of the situation. They will poke India and know that India will retaliate. And they will use that retaliation to deflect all the negative attention beamed on themselves currently. Criminal minds cannot think of anything constructive.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

ISI is cover is being blown as details emerge every day. It looks like Taliban guys, rich Arabs visited Bin Laden in his Abbotabad guest house.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnew s/asia/pakistan/8514046/Osama-bin-Laden- hiding-place-visited-by-Taliban.html

Material recovered from Bin Laden’s safe haven is revealing the truth slowly. If Taliban leaders could visit Bin Laden, it would not have been possible without all the facilitation provided by you-know-who.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

The Bin Laden raid fiasco was a big blunder made by US further creating mistrust. It is about time Pakistan Air Force redeploys an extra squadron of F-16s at Peshawar airbase. Meanwhile the DGMO- Director Gen Military Ops should have a hotline, directly linked to Peshawar, Kohat, Risalpur airbases and scramble jets within minutes in case of an incursion. Regular ADA’s Air Defence Alert, combat air patrol missions will be needed. Even if it means ISI feeds CIA false information on another such compound in Quetta and lure the American SOF into another raid and then try to capture or confront them thereby busting the myth that American military is mighty. Also, radars, AWACS recently bought from Sweden will come handy, alongwith deployment of shoulder fire ANZA Missiles by ground units across Af-Pak border. These are tough measures, pakistan must walk the talk. Now is the time, otherwise next target is Pakistan’s nukes. And Pakistan Armed Forces know, their credibility is on the line. And DG ISI’s breifing to the parliament shows this is been taken very seriously. As Senator John Kerry is due IN Islamabad, Pakistani leaders have tough choices to make.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

The Emperor has no clothes.

If the US stops aid, and blocks IMF, WB loans, etc Paks will be on their knees in no time.

That’s the way to go. Unfortunately Americans still desparately are deluding themselves thinking Paks will start acting rationally.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive

@”It is about time Pakistan Air Force redeploys an extra squadron of F-16s at Peshawar airbase. Meanwhile the DGMO- Director Gen Military Ops should have a hotline, directly linked to Peshawar, Kohat, Risalpur airbases and scramble jets within minutes in case of an incursion. Regular ADA’s Air Defence Alert, combat air patrol missions will be needed. Even if it means ISI feeds CIA false information on another such compound in Quetta and lure the American SOF into another raid and then try to capture or confront them” Posted by Umairpk

thump thump thump thump ROFLOL!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

“Unfortunately Americans still desparately are deluding themselves thinking Paks will start acting rationally.”
Posted by netizen

US officials have no delusion about Pakistan anymore. Don’t go by what’s said in the media. Behind the scenes, most senior officials are in favor of taking a hard line towards Pakistan. My guess is, this is one final push to convince/coerce/threaten the Pakistanis to come clean. As I’ve said before, I strongly believe that the US officials have some pretty damning evidence of Pakistan’s complicity in hiding Bin Laden & they’re playing their cards close to the chest right now. If the Pakistanis don’t mend their ways, the cards will be revealed. As it is, Pakistan has lost all credibility in the eyes of the world.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

If I went to an alien world and observed this type of behavior, I would not land or communicate with this species.

Posted by lillian_g | Report as abusive

Perhaps the Navy seals used Mau Mau tactics and weapons in the assault and definitely disfigured Mr Osama and therefore the reluctance to show the world post-martem photos?

Pakistan military could learn a lesson or two from the tactics and handling of the new USA night raids, while Pakistan establishment enjoys summer nights. It is beyond water boarding and general torture or rendition flights used under George W. To heck with arrests and interrogations and confinement in prisons.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

By now it should be obvious to the US that the enemy they have been fighting all these years is Pakistan. This is turning out like an Alistair McLean thriller where at the end the real villain happens to be the one who sends the hero on a mission. When Pakistan is the real villain, why shoot in the dark inside Afghanistan? Turn the barrel towards Pakistan and go to war with them. There will be no need to worry about supply trucks passing through Pakistan. Fix the real villain. Afghanistan will take care of itself. All the destabilization efforts in Afghanistan over the past decade has arisen from Pakistan. Pakistan cannot fight the US. Its nukes have no effect on the US. Instead of sending in trucks with supplies through Pakistan, send cruise missiles right into their criminal establishments and bring them to justice. Pakistan’s military turned rogue under Zia. It is time to take up the task of finishing it off and help the people start on a fresh note. Pakistan is not anyone’s ally. It is the real villain. There is no use dancing around this truth. Until Pakistan is confronted and all its teeth removed, this war on terror will not see its end.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@Mortal1
Hope you are 100% correct.

@KPS,
Sending cruise missiles will play into the propagana campaign of Paks. Just look at the terrorist sympathizers from the West posting here(I’m not referring to the small time minor mullah).

Global PR campaign is against Paks. You need to keep it that way and ensure complete diplomatic isolation. And check out how much the Chinese will step up for them.

Second thing to do is completely expose Pak terrorist set up thru vigorous media campaign. We can supply plenty of information on Pak army involvement in terror, and Americans have plenty too.

Third thing to do is eliminate military supply, “reimbursemet” for “fighting militancy” etc. Silly goose :-)

Fourth thing to do is reduce or withdraw non-military aid too. Internal anarchy and letting the population riot against PA/ISI is the way to go.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive

Netizen,

Pakistan’s military and its ISI have become rogue. ISI has been listed as a terrorist organization in the US secret communications. This week Mumbai attack case starts in Chicago and it is going to show some more proof in this regard. Unless these rogue institutions are cut to size and rebuilt from scratch, this whole region will not stop burning. Afghanistan turned into a rubble only after the Soviets left. Pakistan destroyed Afghanistan and installed the Taliban. They did not care for the men, women and children there when they were treated in the most barbaric way by the Taliban. In their terrorist factories set up inside Afghanistan, several terrorist outfits grew including the Al Qaeda. Kashmir burned for fifteen years. These guys should not be allowed to go back to their old ways. They have burned their own country, leaving it on the brink. Only a super power like the US can set them right. They helped make the monster out of these elements. Let them help clean up the mess that they created before they go home. Pakistan has betrayed the US. It is pay back time.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

You seem to have lost it. Pour some cold water on your brow.

“You should rather attack Pakistan directly but you would not. Why? please answer.”

Because we are firstly not scared of you and secondly if you give us cause we will. Umairpk is not the Commnder in Chief of the Indian Army. Not even of the Pak Army either. So just cool it before you make an absolute fool of yourself.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

updates on china- as per todays the nation, pak army n defence thinktanks were in continuous touch with chinese army etc after may 2nd leading to gilanis sudden 4 day visit to china and hints at chinese military support vs not only india but indian intrusions;
nation also suggests that hillary is communicating a contrasting soft line to kerry is this deliberate or cross purposes?
also as per an article in pakistan observor the us has identified a pak maj gen and 2 brigadiers in touch with obl but kayani n pasha are refusing to act vs them
from the pak media it appears that pakistan doesnt want to continue its relationship with the usa and both civvies n army are on board on this- this no longer appears to be bluff or bluster

Posted by buntyj | Report as abusive

correction chinese support vis a vis us intrusions

Posted by buntyj | Report as abusive

Things that appear interesting from above article are-Pakistan has low reaction time & with good planning missions like that can be carried out to destroy any terrorist camps plotting and preparing attacks against India or US with or without the help of Pakistani army(considering they accept such missions).And in future if Pakistan tends to loose control over its nukes or looses democracy completely there would still be people who would give shelter to terrorists either knowingly or out of ignorance.

Posted by Madbull91 | Report as abusive

Pakistan is an independent country and it was necessary for the foreign troops to inform the concerned authorities, before conducting the operation. However, this operation has allowed both countries to revisit their relationship and make improvements, where needed.

Posted by SZaman88 | Report as abusive

@umairpk
Take it easy, this ruly Indian crowd is going to drive any sane person to nuts. They are bringing out their grievences against Pakistan and prefer to debate among themselves. They are not inerested in Pakistani views or any one elses who is not a Pakistani. Pakistan military knows that the moment they show any weakness, the mercenary army of India, made up mostly of sikhs are ready waiting to march into their former homeland Punjab to defeat Pakistan garrisons or perish. Good riddance for India in any event.
The fact that the civilian Govt. has been insisting on diplomatic solutions for kashmiris is a strategic error of a cardinal dimension. The world is fed up with India vs Pakistan love hate relations. Mr Gillani should break off the diplomatic relations with India, stop the free traffic of water, petrol and heavy equipment for NATO through its territory, impose control and heavy customs duty if it must, withdraw Pakistan military from the Pashtoon territory and place the military on borders with India, particularly in the Sindh area. Let the kashmiris solve their own misery and struggle for independence. Their time is bound to come.
With regard to the USA, Pakistan leaders must realize that it is dealing with a new America, no longer a super power, but only one of the world powers. Reports say that Pakistan is now producing more nukes than France or the UK. They are land and sea based as well as in planes.
ISI knows about the USA incursions in Pakistan, what the radars cannot pick up can be seen with naked eyes, the Americans tricked them, simply tricked them, for Pakistan military to trust once again its so called ally would be unforgivable. National security is dear to every one.

Pakistan civilian Govt. is far behind Pakistan military in terms of intelligence, maturedness and strategic expertise, none of these in my estimates are taught in Pakistan universaties or special institutions. You must know the reason for the gaps foreign Govts.experience. Pakistan civilian Govt does not need to give posts to retired military officers but instead open up institutions which educate the civilian elites.

I know you are not the chief in Pakistan yet, but ISI could pick up these concerns of those who do want to see Pakistan as a strong anchor in the fifty odd muslim countries.

Senator Carry is a vietnam war veteran, a good man, too bad he did not succeed in becoming the President of the USA, the voters opted for George W, perhaps because Senator Kerry’s wife speaks English with a foreign accent? We all hope that the talks go well and a more realistic relationship can be established between the two countries. Americans speak well and start addressing others with first names and give the impression that they are great friends. Well they are not, one should treat them at arm’s legnth. They become friends as others after a long period. They also demand absolute loyalty, no double game, they reckon it is thei prerogative to play double games, cheat and spy!

Rex Minor

PS sorry for my note, but please cool down with strangers.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Fact #1: OBL was found on Pak soil
Fact #2: US undertook a covert MILITARY operation inside Pak soil
Let the politicians (US and PAK) spin this relationship anyway they want. Let all the reaffirmations come out. There is probably some substance to the statements we are hearing from the various players. However, it is probably easier to guess the trajectory of this relationship by just looking at the facts because they will not change.

Posted by rainydays | Report as abusive

I for one cannot believe for a second that Mr Osama, if it was Mr Osama which the Americans murdered in cold blood, was residing in a garrison town with knowledge or approval of Pakistan military or ISI. This is ery sinister, both Govts should come clean and tell the truth. To hell with Natonal security or strategic reasons and keep things secret until wikileak breaks out. They owe the truth to the world!!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Oops! Gen Kayani says LeT not a threat to Pakistan

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424 052748704281504576325274176490968.html?m od=wsj_share_twitter

“Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani told a meeting of former military officers on May 4, just after the unilateral raid on bin Laden’s home, that the U.S.’s hardball approach would not force Pakistan to change course, according to Mahmood Shah, a retired brigadier and former senior bureaucrat in the tribal regions, who attended the meeting. An army spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment.

Among the groups the U.S. wants Pakistan to clamp down on is Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group which carried out the attack on Mumbai, India, in 2008, which killed more than 160 people.

India says the ISI maintains contacts with the group and helped organize the Mumbai attack. Pakistan denies this. But Gen. Kayani, in the meeting with former officers, pointed out that the group has only ever attacked Indian targets and is not a major threat to Pakistan.”
——————————————————

Pakistan Army Chief Balks at U.S. Demands to Cooperate

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/13/world/ asia/13pakistan.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

——————————————————–

Lt. Gen (r) Talat Masood

Patience, Not Punishment, for Pakistan

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/16/opinio n/16masood.html?_r=1&src=tptw

——————————————————–

What Holbrooke Knew

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/opinio n/15kristof.html?_r=1&src=tptw

Holbrooke strongly advocated resolution of Kashmir dispute, improved Indo-Pakistan ties, that in his view could stabilize Afghanistan, ultimately leading to a Dayton like agreement to end the war.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

I read a joke sometime ago about a letter written by a schoolboy’s mother to his class teacher.

“My little boy is very sensitive,” she wrote, “on no account shout at him or punish him for his mistakes, because he will be very hurt and traumatised. Just slap the boy next to him, and that will frighten him and accomplish your purpose.”

I am reminded of this joke when reading some of the prescriptions offered by Americans.

“Pakistan has been a bad boy, so India must be pressured into settling the Kashmir dispute.”

Sounds like a plan!

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

Umair quoted:

http://on.wsj.com/jVNOQk

“India says the ISI maintains contacts with the group and helped organize the Mumbai attack. Pakistan denies this. But Gen. Kayani, in the meeting with former officers, pointed out that the group has only ever attacked Indian targets and is not a major threat to Pakistan.”

Oh, but you missed the punchline:

“[...] Gen. Kayani, in the meeting with former officers, pointed out that the group has only ever attacked Indian targets and is not a major threat to Pakistan. One of those present pointed out that all militant groups in Pakistan feed off each other, to which Gen. Kayani remained silent, Brig. Shah said.”

Do selective reading much?

I think some of the other military types have finally begun to wake up to the truth, but the serving idiot-in-chief is still too blinded by hatred to see it. My prescription for Pakistan would be a coup within the army before it is too late.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

Changing the military chief wouldn’t do anything. It is the entire system geared towards jihadi terror as an instrument of state policy.

We all have different prescriptions. What is important to note that without any outsiders doing anything, Pakistan has been steadily declining.

Because of keeping external military aggression as the main focus, things are coming apart internally. You will see more sectarian strife, inter-ethnic strife and so on.

Also the brand name Pakistan has been completely tarnished. External investments will continue to decline. Despite this complete decline takes so long, because the prosperous, fertile Punjab forms its core.

Chinese used Paks as a low cost geo-strategic pawn. Pak is not N Korea, it is a much hotter potato to handle than NK. As things go down for the Paks, Chinese will quietly look the other way and wash their hands off.

Besides using it as a pawn, the other interest of China in Pak is to exploit the natural resources of Balochistan and to use the Gwadar port. But internal anarchy, poor business environment will come in the way of Chinese plans.

Americans are in a hurry because they want to “end” Afghan war. But withdrawing aid, finding alternative supply routes, is the way to go.

Paks will support insurgency, terrorism. That’s the only thing they can do, they can never do anything constructive. Losers forever.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive

Umairpk: “if you have the balls don’t beg america. You should rather attack Pakistan directly but you would not. Why? ”

America has brought Pakistan to where it is. Therefore they have to clean up their act. When they are doing the job, why should we dirty our hands? We are not begging America. It is the expected thing. And we have defeated Pakistan by not falling into the trap that its many generals have tried – Pakistan has been trying to force India into a retaliation in order to help unite its militant groups and people. And we have not given room for that. And Pakistan has collapsed internally due to our restraint. If we can make you fall without doing anything, then why waste our money and resources? You are doing that job yourself. And if at all we have to attack you, it won’t be in the form of direct confrontation. There are many other means to achieve that. Attack is the last resort. Hopefully you won’t have to face that.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Ganesh: “Gen. Kayani, in the meeting with former officers, pointed out that the group has only ever attacked Indian targets and is not a major threat to Pakistan. One of those present pointed out that all militant groups in Pakistan feed off each other, to which Gen. Kayani remained silent, Brig. Shah said”

And on top of that Pasha has said that the ISI has already identified targets inside India. This week’s Mumbai attack investigation is going to rub more salt into the wound. Let us see if Pakistan has the balls to shut down supply route to American trucks, close the US embassy, evict all the staff, throw out the CIA operatives and cut off diplomatic ties with the US. Pakistan does not need America according to some of the cranky chaps. Let us see if they can survive doing their macho stuff. They will be answering Armitage’s question correctly this time – “yes we are against you”. Then it will be back to stone age and camels.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

kerrys visit appears to have patched things up but subject to deliverables from pakistan; lets see if pakistan delivers….

Posted by buntyj | Report as abusive

buntyj: “lets see if pakistan delivers”

That has been the battle for the past 10 years. Pakistan has not delivered the real culprits. It has protected them for its own geo-political purposes on the hope that the Americans can be fooled indefinitely so that they’d get tired of the whole thing and leave. Then the plan was to get back to business as usual. Remember, they proudly claim that they have time on their hands.

Pakistan is not going to deliver anything. It needs a C section.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

I’d like to go back to a more isolationist condition. Our hegemonic geopolitical aspirations have got the best of us. That’s where all of our money goes. Let’s think about ourselves, shut down our own borders and let the rest of the world figure out why we don’t want to interact with them. Let the Chinese and Russians play that game. I’ve had it.

Posted by 11B-Spec4 | Report as abusive

Mortal1: “woof woof, no bite!

Do you also see a wagging tail on the other end? This dog can also roll on the floor, catch a frisbee and poop in the neighborhood. It can bury bones quickly, mark its territory by taking a leak wherever it wants and has a lot of puppies growing up looking just like it.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

“Pakistan is not going to deliver anything. It needs a C section.”

I think it has delivered way too much to the world already. Too much obnoxious nuisance value, that is. If anything, it’s time for permanent sterilization.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

The US or India should not go to war with Pakistan because war is too costly in terms of human & financial resources. Besides, the writing is on the wall: Pakistan will destroy itself. It’s rogue & failed army will continue with it’s suicidal policy of “strategic death” until Pakistan is no more. We just have to tighten our security, relax on the sidelines & watch. The more insecure, Pakistanis like Umair get, the harder they’ll thump their chests. We should enjoy the comedy while it lasts. There’s no point trying to reason with these guys anymore. You can try to wake up someone who’s sleeping but not someone who’s pretending to be asleep.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

While “macho” Pakistanis like Umair chest thump, their “brave” army allows US drones to violate their “sovereignty” almost everyday.

http://bit.ly/kyTIEq

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Can the USA or any other country for that matter face a nuclear power which is destabilised and hostile? Only fools would say yes! Holbrooke was the experiened and successful strategist, but his plan had one ingredient which it is difficult to realize and that is, negotiation with Talibans. Taibans are Pashtoons and nothing would satisfy them other than surrender and withdrawl of foreign troops from their land. They excel in practicing defensive war games, not offensive. Once a tribe has had enough the other tribe takes over and so on just to keep the foreigners as practice targets. Sounds very macabre but that is how it is. Navy seals are trained for several years and Pashtoon start their training at the age of five.
Nevertheless Mr Holbrooke would have managed to stabilise the entire region, including Iran. mr Obama ignored his advice and of many others, because Obama has nothing to loose. Once his term is over the bug will be passed on to others.

It is not going to be easy this time for America to disengage. There are a lot of Pakistani millions now who have been hurt, not dozens killed by drones or few killed by CIA agents. Let us see how the clintonians get USA out of the quagmire? General Kyani is no longer the chief but simply the spokesperson of the military. I get the impression that Pakistani Generals prefer this assignment to that of a combat!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

It’s so funny. When Mr. Holbrooke was alive, all the jihadis in the room hated him & called him a biased jew, a moron who’s clueless about the region & what not. And now, after discovering that he had mentioned the “K” word a few times, they are talking as if he was the only messiah, who could have saved the region. Amazing!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

[...]            Who called whom and when on the night that U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan? Here’s a summary of what has been published so far, with some questions: Let’s start with President Barack Obama’s speech on May 1 (May 2 in Pakistan) when he announced that bin Laden had been killed in the town of Abbottabad (note the diplomatic finesse in his suggestion that President Asif Ali Zardari was the first to be informed, as would normally be the case in relations between two countries.) “Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.” Here is a reconstruction of events, as described by senior Pakistani journalist Najam Sethi and written after Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Lieutenant General Shuja Pasha (DG-ISI), the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, held a special briefing last week for a select group of senior journalists. “Shortly after reports of a helicopter mishap in Abbotabad hit the media around 1.20 am, not so far away in Rawalpindi, the DG-ISI (Pasha) was woken up by a phone call about a crashed helicopter. He called his people to ask: ‘Is it ours?’ After a brief check, he was told, ‘no sir, it’s not ours’. He called up DG-MO. (Director General of Military Operations) ‘Is it yours?’ After a brief check he was told, ‘no sir, it’s not ours’. He called up his boys and told them to rush to the scene of the incident. He also called up the COAS (Chief of Army Staff) General Kayani to brief him. “The COAS called up the top military man in Abbotabad who ordered forces to rush to the area. The COAS also called up the PAF (Pakistan Air Force) Air Chief. The Air Chief checked, explained that radar hadn’t picked up any intruders, and ordered two F-16s to scramble. When the ISI team arrived at the compound, they reported the burning wreckage of the chopper and the markings on its fin. They reported three dead men and one woman. They reported a wounded woman who spoke Arabic and halting English, and two other women who were unharmed. They noted there were sixteen children aged six to eight years approximately. The woman said she was OBL’s wife, along with two other women, and confirmed that OBL and his family had been living in the compound for six years. She said the Americans had attacked them, killed OBL and taken his corpse. Soon thereafter, the army arrived to seal off the area and whisk away the occupants and dead bodies in the compound. “Around 3 am, Admiral Mullen called General Kayani, and CIA chief, Leon Panetta, called DG-ISI, General Pasha. They explained the nature of the operation and why it had been kept a secret from them. President Obama called President Zardari at 7 am to acquaint him with the facts.” According to this version then, there was a full four-hour gap between the United States officially informing the Pakistan Army that it had just conducted a raid on its territory, and informing the head of state. It also leaves a lingering impression that the president remained asleep after Pasha ordered “his boys” to rush round to the compound when bin Laden was killed to find out what happened. Here is the version given by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in an interview with Omar Waraich at Time magazine: “The Prime Minister said he was first alerted to the raid by a 2 a.m. call from Pakistan’s army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Gilani then called his Foreign Secretary and asked him to demand an explanation from U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter.” So did Gilani then call Zardari? And what did the U.S. ambassador tell the foreign secretary? Did they speak before, or after Obama officially informed Pakistan’s president about the raid? Here is another version, in a report in The Express Tribune giving a reconstructed account of what Pasha said in an in-camera briefing on Friday to a special joint sitting of parliament, held at Kayani’s suggestion. “Though Pasha was careful not to blame the civilian leadership of anything, his question was, in essence, directed to the entire leadership of the country: If the top leadership was informed of the operation after it was over at just past 2 am on May 2, as the ISI chief said in his briefing – why wasn’t any sort of emergency meeting called? “The parliament was informed by Lt Gen Pasha that he had informed Army Chief General Kayani at 2.05am about the American operation – who, in turn, made a telephone call to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and then to the President Zardari. Gilani was said to have then called up the foreign secretary. But there was nothing other than that. Why didn’t the Troika – the President, Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff – meet urgently, and discuss a possible response? Why did the leadership wait for a call from US President Barack Obama at 7 am – five hours after the operation was brought into their knowledge?” There may be other versions out there, in which case, do please post the links in the comments section. They are not in themselves contradictory. Pasha found out first and called his boss, General Kayani. The army chief phoned the prime minister and possibly the president. The Americans — if these accounts are correct — appear to have told their counterparts in the military long before they informed the civilian leadership of Pakistan. You might argue these are details in the grand scheme of things. But these phone calls do tell us quite a lot about the way power is distributed in Pakistan. Perhaps most significantly, they give a clue as to how the United States views that distribution of power. Washington has professed to support democracy in Pakistan. Yet by most accounts, the civilian leadership was not only totally caught off-guard by the U.S. raid, but was completely dependent on the military and the ISI to tell them afterwards what had happened. In the chaotic aftermath which followed bin Laden’s killing, the civilian government missed an opportunity to assert its authority over the military, which dominates foreign and security policy. If the United States had really wanted to bolster the civilian government, why did it leave it flailing? An oversight? A question of old habits dying hard? A matter of practical convenience? Or an indication that in Washington’s decades-long preference for dealing directly with the military in Pakistan, nothing has really changed? Reuters [...]

@ kp – i was politely sceptical of pakistan delivering on its latest assurances; perhaps the us knows it too but a) wants time to reduce its footprint in afghanistan and its consequent need for transit through pakistan; b) wants to see how far beijing will go in helping pakistan; c) wants to test the pakis on their promise of not leaking an atack on a hi value target; and, d) wants pakistan to break off the relationship and the us be seen to have against the odds tried its best to salvage a relationship?
on india -pak patience and keep our powder ready- as and when we strike it must be at a time n place of our choosing (not pakistans)and be decisive this time; it may be a good idea to revise our n doctrine to no 1st strike only vs those countries who have committed no 1st strike also

Posted by buntyj | Report as abusive

@KPSingh, Mortal1 & Netizan: What is wrong with you guys? why do you hate Pakistan so much? Are you guys part an an indian propaganda campaign? its sad to read comments such as the ones you have written, You clearly have no idea and your hearts are filled with Hate and Animosity. I pity you guys, learn to respect and understand the world around you. You guys have made me sick, I know a million indians and they are like brothers to me.. didnt think people like you existed on the net too… Grow up.

Posted by kc4justice | Report as abusive

—truthtorpedo

Somebody stepped on your tail puppy ?

Posted by punjabiyar | Report as abusive

kerry did not visit pakistan to apologize or patch up things, he simply visited to ask for the return of the tail that navy seals left behind. Too bad the chinese have already taken the tail away and now a copy has to be made for face saving exercise.again pakistan leaders have promised something which they cannot deliver. And we are going to watch this drama, being played between the usa and pakistani clowns. i find the usa nightly comedian programs are of more interest than what the usa is playing with their allies.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

While Clemenceau said that “war is too important to be left to the generals”, in this instance, which was a military operation, didn’t it make sense to tell the ISI and military first and the civilian authorities later?

Posted by zsoltpapp | Report as abusive

America has spoken; Pakistan Govt or ISI had no knowledge about Mr Osama- no evidence to show otherwise, says the outgoing USA secretary of defence. Wise man, they are now relying on Mr Osama library. And I thought they wanted from the Pakistan Govt. the names of people who were in contact with Mr Osama during the time when Mr Osama was a good guy fighting the Russians.

It is about time that Pakistan leaders look after their security and not share info which is not in their national interest. In ny event it is abut time that Messrs Zardari and Mr Kyani retire!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

It is well known that for defence matters Pakistani political leaders cannot take quick decisions, it has to be military leaders. Military used politicians to embarras the US. The American raid was indeed a daring effort, bypassing the so called 6th largest nuclear power in the world – who would be soon 4th in few years time. Even if Pak military would have known earlier during raid that it is American incursion, they would have not reacted. It also exposes that Pakistan may take few hours to react to an Indian raid as well. But in such a case Chief of Army may take a unilateral decision to fire nuclear weapons on Indian military and strategic locations. The scenario would leave 1/5th of the world under deathly shadows of nuclear war. Obama’s decision was extraordinary indeed.

Posted by imranahsanmirza | Report as abusive

The US really missed a chance here to strengthen the democratically elected government of Pakistan. What a tragedy. The very first call should have been Obama to Zardari. And then Biden or Clinton to Gilani and then the military to military contacts. This is a terrible mistake by the US.

Then there’s the errors on the Pakistani side. What contempt by the Pakistan Army and Gilani, not to inform the legitimate head of state about a national security incident in the country. Whatever you think of Zardari, it is utterly inappropriate that he wasn’t informed as soon as possible.

Lastly, the incident highlights the compartmentalized nature of the Pakistani armed forces. The intelligence directorate is allowed to conduct air operations without informing the operations directorate or the air force? Wow. How many other countries operate this way? It’s ridiculous. And the army operations directorate is also allowed autonomous air ops? Seems like the PAF doesn’t have control over the use of airspace by other services. How then can they hope to prevent mishaps or intrusions?

Even if they had detected the Americans, with the chain of command being what it is, they would not have been able to positively assert that the helicopters were not Pakistani. Nor would they have been able to decide how to react to the intrusion. This is why most countries leave a single authority in charge of air operations. Even when deployed in foreign theatres. Other services can conduct air ops, but they can’t doing so without the air component commander’s permission and knowledge. A single authority ensures there’s no issue with airspace deconfliction, flight safety, and air security.

But given the Pakistani mentality, I can’t see this being fixed. Can anybody imagine the Pakistan Army (all directorates) handing over all responsbility for airspace management to the PAF. Yeah right.

Too bad. You can bet that every neighbouring country (not just India) is studying this and making notes of the cracks in Pakistani command and control.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive

KeithZ has comments…..

sorry, the chain of command in Pakistan defence force is known to most countries in the world including India and the USA. This structure is more or less no different than that of the UK setup or for that matter even the USA. Sorry, the comments are erroneous, besides the President in Pakistan is a joke. Apparently, he was informed but preferred to sleep on and the Prime Minister equaly was not in a hurry to call the cabinet meeting. The USA acted as an ally and was supposedly allowed to enter the air space in case of hot pursuits of insurgents. The ally has cheated, plain cheating and this simply demonstrates that Pakistan military chiefs are vulnerable against cheats!!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

PS
The irony is that Pakistan military has been cheated before by India as well as the USA. Remember Pakistan was an ally of the USA in the CENTO act!

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@Myra
You are a mega classic. Your article and the photo of culprits apparently watching live the murder of an unarmed old man, supposedly the wanted ” Dead or alive” Osama. Future generation children would be asked to identify the leader of the culprits to test their IQ? Brilliant snap, even Sharlack Homes would have failed this test!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

[...] Even after the May 2 raid by U.S. forces who killed Osama bin Laden, Washington appears to have  given the details to the military first, thereby depriving the civilian government of the power of information and leaving it floundering [...]