In the immediate aftermath of the U.S. operation in Abbotabad, the unusually expeditious handling of Usama Bin Laden’s corpse has raised multiple questions around the world. The details are murky at best and the lack of substantial evidence presented to date is fueling the rumor mills, but from Pakistan’s perspective all this is irrelevant.
170 million strong Pakistan, approved about $6.4 in defense spending in 2010-11, that figure includes an increase of about $1.2 billion from prior year, this increase was approved by the Parliament last year. The government says that the extra revenue has come from "development and non-development budgets" which have been cut by 50% and 20% respectively. The Military is touted to be one of the strongest in the world and certainly the most powerful institution in the country. Since the creation of the country, Pakistan has been ruled by its military rulers for 32 years.
Therefore, it’s quite natural for the military leadership to assume a central role in Pakistan’s policy making. Decisions are made and implemented by the military. However this has not been the case in the past 48 hours since the U.S. troops conducted ‘Operation Geronimo’ in Pakistan. The Pakistani government is scrambling to provide a plausible explanation of how the events unfolded some 37 miles away from the Federal Capital.
Much was not expected from the civilian administration. Last year, President Zardari became world famous for travelling to England to launch his sons political career, weeks after the unprecedented and devastating flooding hit Pakistan. In line with that tradition, Prime Minister Gilani has also mentioned that he will not cancel his trip to France beginning May 3rd.
So now, the man who is perceived to make all the significant decisions in Pakistan, is the Army Chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. General Kayani who is also the former ISI chief had proudly stated on April 23rd in Abbotabad (a few hundred yards from Osama’s hide-out) that the ‘Backbone of the terrorists have been broken’.
There are the obvious questions, for example, how come the Pakistani intelligence agencies had no information on Usama and his network. How were the U.S. aircrafts and Navy SEALs able to enter the Pakistani airspace undetected, conduct their operation and leave as they came, etc.
And then, there are the existent questions. What happens if other neighboring countries use this precedence? What if the target this time is the nuclear arsenal?
People of Pakistan must wonder….did they get what they have been paying for all these years?
So here’s the 6.4 billion dollar question….who is going to assume responsibility for these multiple systemic and categorical failures and what exactly is their plan. Time, has run out.