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Is the world safer now al-Qaida chief is dead?

Although the Americans have been gloatingly bandying about the death of Osama bin Laden since their “successful” operation at Abbottabad on Monday (May 2), doubts have continued to persist about the man whom they had identified as al-Qaida’s chief before taking his life. In fact, the burial of the body at sea tends to reinforce the suspicion of a questionable identity of the murdered person; if proper Islamic rites were performed for the disposal of the body, as the U.S. claims, there was no question of a sea burial.

Besides, the palatial residence, with all the appurtenances that would attract attention at first sight and located in a military cantonment, was hardly the place the most wanted man could have chosen to hide. Was the whole drama an attempt at hoodwinking the world to lift the sinking morale of the U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, letting them have an air of victory before their withdrawal begins, and boost the popular rating of President Obama awaiting polls next year?

However, those who are used to blindly taking the U.S. version of events as gospel truth, blithely glossing over its established practice of disinformation and deception to protect its interests, or to get out of a tricky situation, are wild with excitement.

The people of Pakistan are as yet in a state of shock at the murder of bin Laden and surprised at knowing that he was hiding at Abbottabad without anyone knowing about it. On the other hand, JUI-F took out a rally in protest at Quetta and calling Osama “Supreme Mujahid,” and Jamat-ul Dawa saying that his “martyrdom” would not go in vain and offering funeral prayers. No other religious party has said anything about the murder, only criticizing the U.S. for violating Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Strangely, political parties have not uttered a word of criticism for Osama’s murder, merely raising other questions like country’s sovereignty. Government agencies gave out different versions: Foreign Office vaguely saying that we have had extremely effective intelligence cooperation with the U.S., while ISI claiming to have joined hands in the operation.

(The Nation (Pakistan), May 4)
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