Pak govt should probe Osama hideout: Pak’s US ambassador

Husain Haqqani said that jihadi elements in his country could have sheltered Osama bin Laden and promised that heads would roll if somebody`s complicity is discovered.

Last Updated: May 08, 2011, 22:06 PM IST

Washington: Pakistan government should get
to the bottom of how al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden managed
to hide in a compound in Abbottabad, the country`s ambassador
to US Husain Haqqani has said.

Maintaining that he didn`t know whether Osama had help
from the Pakistan government or military to stay concealed in
Abbottabad, Haqqani said he did not think that speculations
were going to solve the problem.

What we need now was for Pakistan`s elected leaders to
exercise the leadership and get to the bottom of the matter,
the envoy said in an interview to a US TV Channel.

He said the US shouldn`t rush to judgment about
whether to withdraw military aid or to put undue pressure on
the Pakistani government.

Besides, the ambassador said a government elected
three years back could not be held accountable of decades old
matters.

Earlier in an interview, the envoy acknowledged
that the al-Qaeda chief had "support system" in the country,
but asserted that the government was unaware of his presence on
its soil.

"Obviously, bin Laden did have a support system (in
Pakistan). The issue was that support system within the
government and the state of Pakistan or within the society of
Pakistan," Haqqani said.

"We all know that there are people in Pakistan who
share the same belief system as bin Laden and other
extremists... So that is a fact, that there are people who
probably protected him," he said.

But, he maintained that Pakistan was unaware of bin
Laden`s presence on its soil.

"We did not know. We had no knowledge. And if we had
knowledge, we would have acted upon it long ago," he said.

The envoy said Pakistan government will conduct an
inquiry that how its intelligence failed to notice his
presence in Islamabad`s proximity.

Husain Haqqani on Sunday said that jihadi elements
in his country could have sheltered Osama bin Laden and promised
that heads would roll if somebody`s complicity is discovered.

"If any member of the Pakistani government, the
Pakistani military, or the Pakistani intelligence service knew
where Osama bin Laden was, we would have taken action. Osama
bin Laden`s presence in Pakistan was not to Pakistan`s
advantage," Haqqani said to a second TV Channel.

"We still have many jihadi has-beens from the 1980s
who are still alive and well and kicking, and some of them
could have been helping them, but they are not in the state or
government of Pakistan today," he said.

"Were there cracks through which things fell through?
Absolutely. And we`ll investigate that, we`ll get to the
bottom of it," he said.

Haqqani said as the investigations proceeds in this
regard, heads would roll in Pakistan.

"Heads will roll, once the investigation has been
completed. If those heads are rolled on account of
incompetence, we will share that information with you (the
US)," he said in response to a question.

"And if somebody`s complicity is discovered, there
will be zero tolerance for that, as well," he said.

Haqqani said the Pakistani intelligence agencies are
interrogating the wives and children detained from the bin
Laden`s hideout.

"We understand that one of the wives never left the
same floor as Osama bin Laden because they were paranoid about
physical movement. They didn`t go to windows. They didn`t have
any sort of fresh air, so to speak," he said.

"So all these people are, of course, being
interrogated, questions being asked. Pakistan wants to put to
rest any, any misgivings the world has about our role,"
Haqqani said.

"We have been victims of terrorism, and we will see
this through, and we will share all intelligence with everyone
that we have to share this intelligence with," he added.

Observing that Pakistan has a complexity in its
society, Haqqani said if one does political opinion surveys,
there are people who have sympathy with the cause of Osama bin
Laden.

"Those of us who do not, we are targets ourselves, so
we have to deal with that complex ground reality in Pakistan.
It`s not easy for us," he said.

PTI