Washington, May 5: Facing a volley of questions over Osama bin Laden's presence in the country, Pakistan has said its preoccupation with the “threat from the east” may be a reason why intelligence failed to concentrate on locating the al Qaeda leader.
Pakistan's Ambassador to the US acknowledged that while military intelligence's preoccupation with India is a factor, the possibility of that there are individuals within Pakistan who provided a support network to bin Laden has to be taken into account.
“What you have to understand is that every nation has its own preoccupations, and we have a military and intelligence service that has always been concern about the threat from the east.
“So they have a threat perception which is not always the threat perception that you and I may have,” Haqqani told the popular Charlie Rose Show in an interview yesterday. He said it is possible that people within Pakistan's security establishment just did not take trying to locate bin Laden as seriously as they should have.
“We are glad that our American partners were able to piece together the information that they did to focus on this information, much of which they got from us,” he said. Haqqani said having bin Laden protected by the government or the intelligence could not have been good for Pakistan but the fact that he was staying in the country for long does leave Pakistan with some unanswered questions.
“So we couldn't have done it deliberately. All that is possible is that there are individuals within Pakistan who provided a support network for Osama bin Laden,” he said. “Pakistanis has to get worried about why did he choose Pakistan as the place to live. Obviously he felt comfortable there, and that is something that has we will deal with the question and find the answer,” he said.
Ever since US Special Forces killed bin laden in a covert operation in the heart of Pakistan, questions have been raised over the country's role in keeping him there. While the US has clearly said that it did not share information with Pakistani officials as it feared they might leak it out to the targets, Britain and France too have said that Pakistan's needs to clarify its position. Haqqani, however, said Pakistan's longstanding cooperation and intelligence sharing with the US cannot be discounted.
“So we would not have been able to make the right conclusions, but we certainly were sharing with the Americans bits and pieces of intelligence that the Americans with their better analytical skills in Langley were able skills to put together,” Haqqani said.
“There are people in Pakistan military who probably thought this was their job to do it, but they didn't do it right. It's obvious because if they had they would have found Osama bin Laden and eliminated him instead of the Americans doing an operation in Pakistan,” he said. PTI