Watching Pakistan I have often been reminded of the anecdotes of Procopius regarding the late Roman-early Byzantine court of Justinian. To share these impressions would, however, be even more pedantic than yesterday’s endorsement of Immanuel Kant.
I am glad that someone closer to Islamabad seems to see a similar pattern. Following is an essay published earlier today by Irfan Husain in DAWN. I have only excerpted a bit of the beginning. The whole essay is worth your reading: A History of Bungling.
The space between an admission of gross incompetence or of complicity in a major crime is full of humiliation and pain.
This is the place Pakistan`s ISI finds itself in the wake of Osama bin Laden`s killing in Abbottabad.
The country`s premier intelligence agency is being accused by many of knowing where the Al Qaeda chief has been hiding for the last five years. His extended presence in Abbottabad, close to the country`s elite military academy, has raised troubling questions.
But when faced with a choice between official bungling and thuggery, I`d go for ineptitude every time. While looking at a crime, the first thing an investigator asks is: ` Cui bono ?`, or `Who benefits?”
In the case of Bin Laden`s long residence in Pakistan, the country`s security establishment clearly had nothing to gain by concealing his presence.
In the past, several major foreign Muslim terrorists have been captured in Pakistan with the ISI`s cooperation. The names of Aimal Kansi, Yusef Ramzi, Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh come to mind. Lesser figures have been fingered for drone strikes, deportation to Guantanamo Bay, or for interrogation by the Americans elsewhere.
It has long been Pakistan`s tacit policy that it would crack down on foreign fighters and terrorists, while maintaining an ambivalent attitude towards jihadi groups who might be of use in Afghanistan at a later date.
Bin Laden was clearly a distraction and an embarrassment. He was of no possible strategic value to Pakistan, now or later; 9/11 had made him a toxic liability, and he was too much of a hate figure around the world for the ISI to risk sheltering him. In addition, with a $25m reward on Bin Laden`s head, do we really think our spooks are so high-minded that they would resist the temptation to turn him in?
So me, I`d go for the bungling option rather than for any of the conspiracy theories doing the rounds in Washington and around the world…