Washington: Husain Haqqani, former Pakistani Ambassador to the US, on Wednesday accused his country`s security establishment of its incompetence and lax attitude that allowed Osama bin Laden to live undetected inside Pakistan for nine years.
The US Navy SEALS who found Osama did not come with visas and the entire controversy over visas has been manufactured to distract attention from the two vital questions, Haqqani said in a statement issued here after the leaked Abbottabad Commission report accused him of issuing visas to American personnel as the Ambassador without any authorisation.
"The first question is, why Pakistan`s bloated security agencies failed to find OBL for nine years and the second, how were the US SEALS able to come into Pakistan without detection by our security forces," he asked.
"The Commission interviewed me on December 19, 2011 when I was a virtual prisoner because I had been forbidden to leave the country without any charges being filed against me and my life was under threat because of false propaganda against me," Haqqani said.
"I informed the Commission that I did not have access to official records for visas at the time but the Commission has not recorded that point in its report," he said, adding the figures for visas were provided by officials at the embassy and the foreign ministry after he had resigned and to say that these came from me is an absolute falsehood.
In any case, Haqqani said, if anyone is given a visa that does not make that person invisible within Pakistan. "Entry of that person is still recorded at the airport and he can be followed like thousands of Pakistanis and foreigners are followed by intelligence agencies," he said.
"Why did the intelligence agencies fail to track down those who were issued visas is another question that has been ignored," the former ambassador added.
He cited the example of CIA contractor Raymond Davis who stayed in Pakistan for three years on visas that were issued and renewed in Islamabad.
In his lengthy statement, Haqqani said the entire OBL episode is a sad reflection on the wrong priorities of our security services.
The Commission`s report, as leaked, tries to play to the gallery in Pakistan instead of saying upfront that Pakistan`s national security establishment`s wrong policies were responsible for Osama being able to stay in Pakistan and for Americans being able to find him without Pakistan knowing.
On the visas, Haqqani asserted that if and when required he would produce copies of every visa authorisation that would demonstrate that not a single visa was ever issued while he was ambassador that was not authorised from Islamabad, including input from security agencies.
He also said the members of the Commission, one of whom served as ambassador to US himself (a reference to Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, who is related to Memo Commission chief Qazi Faez Isa,) should have known that ambassadors do not issue visas.