When Imran Khan began his first ever state visit to the US as Prime Minister of Pakistan, little did he know that his statements will expose Islamabad in the global community. As its Asian neighbours - India and Afghanistan - watched closely as to what transpires between Khan and the US President Donald Trump, the conflicting views and the flip flop showed that all is not well between the US and its once all-important geostrategic ally. It is important for US to keep Pakistan in good mood as Islamabad continues to wield influence in Afghanistan. Also, the growing presence of China in Pakistan via the Beijing’s ambitious China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor can bring much discomfort in the Oval Office.
However, notwithstanding Trump’s Kashmir blunder, it is Khan who has ironically exposed the doing or rather undoing of Rawalpindi. First come the mother of all lies about Osama bin Laden. Pakistan has all along maintained that it was taken by surprise when the US Commandos airdropped in Abbottabad and captured the World’s terrorist no.1 in the dead of the night.
Now, Khan says that Pakistan had given crucial tipoff to the CIA for the Osama operation. "It was ISI that gave the information which led to the location of Osama bin Laden. If you ask CIA it was ISI which gave the initial location through the phone connection," Khan said.
Khan's statement is significant because Pakistan had so far denied that it had any information about the hideout of Osama before he was killed in a covert raid by a US Navy SEAL team in Abbottabad, a garrison town north of Islamabad, on May 2, 2011.
As if as part of course correction or damage control, Khan said that he felt ‘humiliated’ when the US forces killed the dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden in a daring strike inside Pakistan in 2011. Speaking at the US Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, Khan said the US did not trust Pakistan over the issue of Osama bin Laden.
"I can tell you as a Pakistani, never did I feel more humiliated when Osama bin Laden was taken out in Pakistan by the US troops,” Khan said. "Never did I feel more humiliated because here was a country which was supposed to be an ally and our ally did not trust us,” Khan said in response to a question.
Point is, if Pakistan’s ISI had given the clues and shared information with the CIA, what is the reason behind this grouchy remark! Second lie is about the terror groups operating from Pakistani soil. While India has consistently told the world leaders about Pakistan’s open support to the terror group, Islamabad has called them non-state actors had said that it is ‘suffering’ from the menace and trying to control the terror organisations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamat-ud-Dawah etc. In his US visit, Khan exposed the previous government and said that ‘Pakistan did not tell the truth to the United States, in particular in the last 15 years.’ There were 40 different militant groups operating in his country, Khan said. "We were fighting the US war on terror. Pakistan has nothing to do with 9/11. Al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan. There were no militant Taliban in Pakistan. But we joined the US war. Unfortunately, when things went wrong, where I blame my government, we did not tell the US exactly the truth on the ground," Khan said.
"There were 40 different militant groups operating within Pakistan. So Pakistan went through a period where people like us were worried about could we survive it. So while the US expected us to do more and help the US win the war, Pakistan at that time was fighting for its own existence," he said.
(With agency inputs)