The U.S. push to root out the Al-Qaeda network has led Pakistan to a corner, even as the focus is on how prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will handle the complex issue when he addresses the country on Monday, the first time since the May 2 killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.
Pressure is mounting on Pakistan to give access to the wives of Bin Laden, who were captured by Pakistan, so that the U.S. intelligence can garner important evidence about the rump of the hated Al-Qaeda network.
Tom Donilon, national security advisor to President Obama, said on Sunday that the U.S. has asked Pakistan to give access to Bin Laden's widows. There were earlier reports that Pakistan would staunchly resist this move for fear that the Bin Laden widows could pass on compromising information to the U.S. investigators.
President Obama also lashed out at the Pakistani establishment for helping Bin Laden hide in the country for so long, without explicitly blaming the Pakistani government. We don't know whether there might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government ... and that's something that we have to investigate, and more importantly, the Pakistani government has to investigate, Obama said on Sunday in the ‘60 Minutes’ program. He reiterated that Obama, there indeed was a support mechanism ably assisting bin laden in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, there have been numerous reports that Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the chief of the Inter Services intelligence (ISI), would have to resign following the killing of Bin Laden in Pakistan. Though the U.S. has not made a formal demand that Pasha be shown the door, the writing on the wall is rather clear, according to experts and observers. Pasha had earned the strong disaffection of the CIA for demanding that the American spy agency's operations in Pakistan should be curtailed and monitored.
“As a minimal first step, the U.S. should insist on the resignation of the chief of the ISI, Gen. Shuja Pasha, on the official grounds of a gross failure of his service, and the unofficial grounds that this would be the start of a movement toward greater responsibility and accountability in the service, the Newsweek wrote in an article.
The U.S. should also insist on more rapid progress in creating an effective counter-terrorism agency to coordinate Pakistan’s feuding intelligence services.”
A retired senior Pakistani military officer told the Newsweek that it would make a lot of sense for Pasha to resign. It's in his (Pasha's) personal and the national interest to take the heat off, Lt. Gen. Talat Masood said.
The Tehran Times quoted a Columbia University Pakistan security expert as saying that it was 'entirely possible' that Pasha will resign. ... Someone's head will roll--so it can be Pasha. I have a feeling there will be (a) few, the expert said.
However, Pakistan toed the familiar line that the country was a victim of terrorism and that it would, as always, cooperate with the international investigation to eliminate the terror ring. Pakistan wants to put to rest any misgivings the world has about our role, Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, told ABC News. Be clear, we have been victims of terrorism, and we will see this through, and we will share our intelligence with everyone that we have to share this intelligence with.