The report of the independent commission investigating Osama bin Laden's presence in Pakistan would be available next month, the visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said.
"We are awaiting the report of the independent commission. That report is going to be out in October," Khar said in response to a question during a speaking engagement yesterday at the Council on Foreign Relations, an eminent American think-tank.
The panel, popularly known as the Abbottabad Commission, was formed after the Al Qaeda chief was killed in a unilateral US raid in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad on May 2 last year.
It was tasked with ascertaining the full facts regarding bin Laden's presence in Pakistan.
"On Osama bin Laden, as you know, we have had an independent commission, which was set up, which is investigating this matter," she said. When it was found that Laden was living in that compound, the reaction from Pakistani society was even more hostile than maybe yours. "They were even more shocked at it than you," she said.
Khar said from US intelligence reports it is now clear that Pakistani state or any organ of the state had no knowledge of it.
"However, we are awaiting report of the independent commission. And why we have not said or done anything on it is because I think we need to give that process time. Once that report is out, then we will see, obviously, what needs to be done about it," she said.
The Pak Foreign Minister said that Dr Shakil Afridi, the physician who helped CIA trace Osama bin Laden, should not be treated as hero by Americans. Dr Afridi is currently serving 30 years imprisonment. "We feel Dr Shakil Afridi should be no hero to the Americans. Dr Shakil Afridi did not know the herculean task that he was trying to do. He did know that he was going after Osama bin Laden.
"He was a man who was up for hire by anybody who was willing to pay him, and that included Islamic organizations, terrorist organizations, which were using him to move and work against your and our interests. So he was no hero," Khar said."What we have to do right now is to await the legal process to take its full course. And as people who believe in the rule of law, I think we should allow the process. He does have many appeal processes," she said.
Khar however said that she is concerned about what Afridi could do to the future of polio and children in Pakistan. "His activity has ensured that today caregivers and people who want to work for polio are not welcomed. This was a huge battle of 20 years that we had to fight in Pakistan. Because of this one single man's activity, polio today is an emerging concern in Pakistan," she said.
"I would urge you not allow this one single man to be the demonstration of Pakistan-US relations and not to put hostage to the future of this. "I can assure you that he has appeal process that is available to him. His lawyers are going through that appeal process. Let it run its course. But let's take this man for what he was.
"Let's not valorize a man who may be seen over here to be pursuing something that he clearly wasn't," she added.
Published Date: Sep 22, 2012 10:56 am | Updated Date: Sep 22, 2012 10:56 am