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
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.