Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani on Monday claimed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden posed an existential threat to Pakistan.
Claiming the al Qaeda leader sought to destroy the country, Ambassador Jilani recalled documents collected from bin Laden’s compound. The ambassador said a brochure titled ‘Jihad in Pakistan’ reportedly written by bin Laden and released by the office of Director National Intelligence in March this year lists the reasons why bin Laden considered Pakistan as an enemy and outlines al Qaeda’s elaborate strategy to destroy Pakistan.
“The brochure can be viewed at the DNI’s website and is yet another testimony to the fact that terrorism threatens Pakistan and the United States as a common enemy,” he added.
Further, the ambassador clarified Pakistan did not shelter the al Qaeda leader. “The presence of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan has often been cited to question its sincerity in fighting terrorism, in spite of the fact that it has been established beyond doubt that he was hiding in Pakistan without information or any help by the State,” Jilani said.
The ambassador said the US leadership involved in the specific operation at that time, in which Osama was killed, has clearly rejected any insinuation of Pakistan’s complicity. “This includes the statement by Admiral William McRaven, who supervised the operation, that there was no evidence that Pakistani government knew about the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden.”
Jilani said misgivings about Pakistan’s role in the fight against terrorism must stop as the country has suffered most in fighting the menace and has helped the United States capture key operatives involved in the 9/11 attacks.
Speaking to APP, the ambassador said American people have not been fully and accurately apprised of Pakistan’s sacrifice, a country which has lost more than 60,000 people in fighting terrorism and suffered billions of dollars in economic losses.
A joint hearing by the subcommittees of Congress on terrorism, nonproliferation and trade and Asia and Pacific is scheduled for Tuesday to review Pakistan’s role in the war on terror. One of the Chairmen of the sub-committee, Congressman Ted Poe, has been questioning Pakistan’s sincerity and has opposed US aid to the country.
In an op-ed published last month in US News Today, the congressman repeated similar allegations against Pakistan. Ambassador Jilani regretted such statements and media reports to malign Pakistan saying, incorrect information about the country has been consistently proven false over a period of time.
As late as last year, the White House also rejected media accusations that are sometime published by journalists seeking public spotlight.
The ambassador said that despite the fact that such reports had been rejected by the top US military and civilian leadership, repeating these allegations calls into question the reasons for using such erroneous story again and again.
The ambassador also rejected the impression created by such false media reports and statements as if Pakistan has done nothing to fight terrorism.
He reminded that Pakistan helped the United States capture key operatives involved in the tragic 9/11 episode. These included mastermind of 9/11 attacks Muhammad Khalid Sheikh and alleged organizer Ramzi Bin alshibh, besides many other al Qaeda leaders.
During the past two years also, Pakistan has cleared a vast swath of a territory that was previously used by many militant networks, including the Haqqani Network.
The Ambassador observed that it would be only appropriate to ensure that accurate facts are presented before the American people and sensational media stories are not repeated time and again in an attempt to dis-credit Pakistan and its role in fighting the global menace.