Pakistan’s former defense minister, Ahmed Mukhtar, has dropped a political nuke bomb, by saying that Osama bin Laden was their “guest”. This is in stark contrast to the country’s official stand that it did not know Osama bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad.
Ahmed Mukhtar was the defense minister of Pakistan between 2008 and 2012.
The story we all know is that, Osama Bin Laden was staying in a fortified compound in Abbottabad, which is a small military town less than a 100 kilometers from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad. US Navy Seals Team 6 commandoes flew in from Afghanistan on two Black Hawks below radar level to avoid detection. It took them a little over 3 hours to kill this dreaded terrorist and one of his brothers, among others at the house.
The world came to know of it hours later in a dramatic late-night press conference by the US President Barack Obama.
Pakistan maintained that they were completely unaware. But questions were raised. How could Osama have lived in Pakistan undetected for more than 9 years, 5 of them inside a 4 storey compound within the military garrison town of Abbottabad? Surely, someone within the Pakistani leadership, military, or intelligence would have known.
Speaking to CNN-IBN from India, Ahmed Mukhtar has admitted on camera that President Zardari, the then Army Chief General Kayani, and many others in the military chain of command had prior information that Osama was in Pakistan.
This is in stark contrast to what Rehman Malik, the then interior minister had said on May 10th 2011, “I categorically deny any role, any assistance from any Pak official or establishment. The way he hid himself, we could not identify him”. Speaking on October 27th 2011, the former Pakistani Army chief and President General Pervez Musharraf had also maintained the same stand, “As far as I am concerned, I am 500% sure that I did not know, whether anyone believes it or not”.
Pakistan continues to hold the same position to this day officially. But the then Pakistan Defense Minister has blown the lid out of this denial.