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20/07/2011 | Pakistan intelligence ignorant about bin Laden's hiding: general

Radio Australia - Staff

One of the members of the Pakistani Board of Inquiry looking into the American raid on the city of Abbottabad where Osama bin Laden was killed says he's absolutely certain that neither Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI, nor the military, had any idea bin Laden was holed up in the city.


Revelations that the CIA was using a vaccination programme as a front to track down Osama Bin Laden has angered aid agencies, but until now prompted little comment from Pakistan.

Presenter: Jon Faine

Speaker: General Nadeem Ahmed, member of the Pakistani Board of Inquiry

AHMED: That creates a breach of trust. Now people will start taking with a pinch of salt that if an international organisation or an NGO was busy doing these kinds of things. So it is a breach of trust.

FAINE: But this is the CIA that were undermining people's trust in completely different, in United Nations, independent organisations, this is the CIA doing this?

AHMED: This is unfortunate. I think, legally also, no intelligence agencies are supposed to be using NGOs or implementing partners to, you know, get some information. This is principally, morally, legally incorrect.

FAINE: And now you're involved in the inquiry into what did or didn't happen in Abbottabad when the Americans killed bin Laden, so at what stage is that inquiry up to?

AHMED: We have just started. We have had two sessions and the first session we looked at and decided on the modalities, what all, how do we want to proceed, you know with visits on all the whom are going to be called as witnesses. So all those things and I don't want to go into the details because it's all confidential.

So airforce is done, then we'll talk to the military, the army, then we'll talk to the ISI. We also, hopefully, will ask the US Government their view of what and how and where

FAINE: Have you already asked if they will co-operate?

AHMED: No, we're just framing the questions that we want to ask and we'll, through our foreign office we need to take it up with them.

FAINE: And if they refuse to co-operate.

AHMED: We'll put it on record that these were the questions which were asked from the United States and they refused to comment.

FAINE: And if they refuse to co-operate does that mean you can never find out what really happened?

AHMED: We will do our utmost best to find out the details. And I think there are sufficient details available within the country. Of course we just wanted to corroborate that whatever our findings are, if the US also comments on it, so we'll be able to know it more surely whether it's right or wrong.

I think the embarrassing part has already happened. You know, the army and the ISI was ridiculed by everyone and by the civil society, by the media, by the people on the street, because all of them were disappointed. They never expected this thing to happen.

But I think, after seeing the initial reaction of the different stake holders, and what has happened thereafter, people see a clear design. You know, responsible people in the military in the US coming up and saying silly things, then the deliberate leaks in the US media again, you know, saying things which are not correct.

So, everybody has started to now understand that there is a deliberate design to undermine the security establishment. And therefore they have, I can see they have closed ranks with the security establishment now. So I think it is was like over-cooked, overdone.

FAINE: Is it, within your mind, is it conceivable that there were people in the ISI who were sheltering bin Laden?

AHMED: No, definitely not. It's just not possible.

FAINE: But isn't that what you're inquiries supposed to try to find out?

AHMED: We will. We will. But I'm quite sure, because, having spent 40 years in the military, that's not the way things happen in, at least, Pakistan military.

FAINE: Do you think anyone was sheltering him, if not ISI, anyone else?

AHMED: Of course, as you must have heard that there was some news of some terrorist organization providing him, you know, the requisite support. That's quite possible.

FAINE: But people in government, in military, in ISI, you've ruled out ISI?

AHMED: No, no way. Because this is, you know, all said and done government, army, ISI are not irresponsible people, they would never do such a stupid thing which will show them in such a bad light. Irrespective what the USA I have absolutely not an iota of doubt on this, that no government in Pakistan, no military in Pakistan, no intelligence organisation in Pakistan would do such a stupid thing.


Radio Australia (Australia)


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