Washington: Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf believes the killing of Osama bin Laden and his stay in the country for years was a big embarrassment for Islamabad but there was little chance the leadership knew of his presence.
In an interview to CNN, Musharraf said it was a case of utter negligence and should be investigated, though he insisted that he does not believe the ISI or the Pakistani Army provided shelter to bin Laden. “No, I don’t believe that, no. That I don’t believe,” he said when asked if bin Laden was protected in Pakistan.
“I don’t believe that, because they are my people. I’m from them. Even if there was some policy from the top that he has to be protected and hidden,” he said. “If I was complicit or the government or the army was gone, would we keep them there without any security and without any guards there so that he could come and go any time? Was this a person who could be used for any kind of leverage or any kind of a bargaining chip? I think it doesn’t stand to reason at all,” he said.
However, he admitted this is a case of utter embarrassment. “Very embarrassing. Extremely embarrassing. It’s the case of utter negligence of the highest order and should be investigated. But we have to decide whether there was complicity or negligence,” he said.
The former military ruler said it was a serious issue, if it turned out to be a case of complicity, and pointed out that it had affected US-Pak relations. “Let us be very clear that there — whether there was complicity or negligence. Pakistan must convince the world and the United States against this issue, that it was a case of negligence, not complicity,” Musharraf said. Responding to question about the whereabouts of new al Qaeda leader, Aymen al Zawahiri, Musharraf said he had no knowledge but he could be present in Pakistan. (PTI)