Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani has said that misgivings about Pakistan’s role in the fight against terrorism must stop as the country has suffered most in fighting the menace and has helped the United States capture key operatives involved in the 9/11 attacks.
In an interview, the ambassador said that American people have not been fully and accurately apprised of Pakistan’s sacrifice, a country which has lost more than 60,000 people in fighting terrorism and suffered billions of dollars in economic losses.
Ambassador Jilani regretted such statements and media reports to malign Pakistan saying, incorrect information about the country has been consistently proven false over a period of time.
Giving an example, he said the presence of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan has often been cited to question its sincerity in fighting terrorism, in spite of the fact that it has been established beyond doubt that he was hiding in Pakistan without information or any help by the state.
The ambassador said the US leadership involved in the specific operation at that time, in which Osama was killed, has clearly rejected any insinuation of Pakistan’s complicity.
“This includes the statement by Admiral William McRaven, who supervised the operation, that there was no evidence that Pakistani government knew about the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden”.
The ambassador said that despite the fact that such reports had been rejected by the top US military and civilian leadership, repeating these allegations calls into question the reasons for using such erroneous story again and again.
Recalling documents collected from the Osama Bin Laden compound, he said a brochure “Jehad in Pakistan” reportedly written by Bin Laden and released by the office of Director National Intelligence in March this year lists the reasons why Bin Laden considered Pakistan as an enemy and outlines al Qaida’s elaborate strategy to destroy Pakistan.
“The brochure can be viewed at the DNI’s website and is yet another testimony to the fact that terrorism threatens Pakistan and the United States as a common enemy,” he added.
The ambassador also rejected the impression created by such false media reports and statements as if Pakistan has done nothing to fight terrorism.
He reminded that Pakistan helped the United States capture key operatives involved in the tragic 9/11 episode. These included mastermind of 9/11 attacks Muhammad Khalid Sheikh and alleged organiser Ramzi Bin alshibh, besides many other al Qaida leaders.
During the past two years also, Pakistan has cleared a vast swath of a territory that was previously used by many militant networks including the Haqqani Network.
This operation has resulted in the killing of 3,500 militants of which 900 belonged to Lashkar-e-Islam, a group that threatened ground lines of communication for facilitating cargo for US troops.
Nearly 500 soldiers of Pakistan Army embraced Shahadat in fighting these militants. “Being the worst victim of terrorism and having lost thousands of innocent citizens and soldiers to this menace are own resolve to defeat this threat can never be doubted”, he added.
The Ambassador observed that it would be only appropriate to ensure that accurate facts are presented before the American people and sensational media stories are not repeated time and again in an attempt to discredit Pakistan and its role in fighting the global menace.
The statement came as a joint hearing by the sub-committees of the US Congress is scheduled for Tuesday to review Pakistan’s role in the war on terror.
One of the Chairmen of the sub-committee, Congressman Ted Poe, has been questioning Pakistan’s sincerity and has opposed the US aid to the country. -INP