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Operation Geronimo has reinforced the burden of suspicion on the Pakistan army.

Written by The Indian Express |
May 5, 2011 3:03:23 am

The killing of Osama bin Laden has become a fount of confusing stories,as Pakistan twists in the wind,trying to explain how the most wanted terrorist in the world was ensconced in the middle of a garrison town. As the news broke,the Pakistan army was caught in an awful bind — it could say it had no idea about bin Laden,and appear laughably incompetent,or it could accept that a part of it,at least,was complicit with bin Laden’s terror apparatus. Pakistan’s reactions in the first 48 hours or so were a welter of contradictions — first it tried to pretend it was part of the operation all along,and clung to the few ambiguous words in Obama’s announcement to claim part-ownership of the affair. Later,after the CIA and other US officials said that Pakistan hadn’t been informed at all,because it couldn’t be trusted not to alert the targets,that tack was clearly unsustainable. Then,in an 180-degree turn,Pakistan’s foreign secretary said Pakistan had no role at all,and put on an air of wounded pride,describing the sneak assault as an incursion on their sovereignty.

Though it still maintains that injured innocence,the bin Laden killing has only stripped away all pretences. New Delhi,as much as Washington and others,knew that the Pakistan army was playing a dangerous,deceptive game,being sustained by US aid while feeding terror networks. This event only provided embarrassing,smoking-gun proof of that duplicity. However,now India must join those who seek a full accounting from Pakistan. While India should avoid gloating, it deserves a comprehensive explanation of how the Pakistan army and intelligence played both sides,and of the terrorist outfits that thrive under their benevolent umbrella.

However,this event obviously complicates the resumed India-Pakistan peace process. The first round is proceeding reasonably smoothly,but confirmation of the Pakistan army’s double-dealing raises questions about the sustainability of the talks. Even as India continues to engage Pakistan’s civilian leadership,it must draw attention to the army and ISI nurturing terrorism,to alert the world and the Pakistani people to the dangers of this unaccountable superstate. Pakistan’s establishment has been pushed to the wall. US and international pressure will inevitably mount,and if it is pressured into acting against the Taliban and Haqqani network,then it will face a jihadist backlash. As these tensions rise,Pakistan’s internal political arrangements could come under stress. India must be watchful of Pakistan’s internal repercussions,even as it steps up the pressure for a full accounting.

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