Islamabad: Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden's killing by US commandos is an event of such enormity that it deserves transparency but that is "prevented by the state's knee-jerk appeal to secrecy", said a Pakistani daily that sought "honest disclosure" about the raid.
An editorial in the News International on Friday said the US Navy SEALs' raid last year in Abbottabad was undoubtedly one of the most unsettling moments in Pakistan's recent history.
"And yet, very little is known about the real story of what happened on that fateful morning of May 2," it said.
A new book, "No Easy Day", by a member of the US commando team that killed the al Qaeda leader raises even more questions where previous ones are as yet unanswered, and contradicts several details of the operation as presented by the US administration.
The daily pointed out that the key difference is in the accounts: an unarmed Osama was shot instantly when the SEALs saw him; he wasn't reaching for a gun, nor did he make any effort to defend himself against the commandos. Crucial details in the US administration's narrative, which also claimed that a prolonged gunfight took place between the SEALs and Osama's operatives outside the compound, has been denied by the author.
"...it may be a good time to draw attention to the Pakistani government and security establishment's similar refrain of everything being 'all too secret to disclose'. Since May 02, the powers that be here have made all kinds of secrecy and national security claims to deny information and material about the Osama raid," the editorial said.
"While the SEALs are writing books on the raid in the US, we are still waiting for the findings of the Abbottabad Commission to be made public. While there is something to be said about protecting sensitive information, there is also a downside: it adds to the suspicion around Pakistan's role in the whole affair." it added.
The editorial pointed out that contradictory statements by government officials, including the then prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, didn't make things any clearer.
"Given all the confusion and suspicion, honest disclosure about the raid and allowing new material to come out may help resolve some of the lingering and serious doubts created by inconsistencies and fallacious claims, coloured by politics, sensationalism, and by some accounts, outright fantasy, that have emerged from both the US and Pakistani sides," said the daily.
"An event of this enormity deserves transparency, which is prevented by the state's knee-jerk appeal to secrecy," it added.
First Published: Friday, August 31, 2012, 11:26