Osama bin Laden has been killed. The operation occurred sixty miles from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. US officials describe it as the closure of a chapter. It is also the start of a new chapter. The event will help President Obama in his re-election. But how will it affect the future of Pakistan? The focus of unfolding events will most likely be Pakistan. The death of Osama could be a defining moment. Certain broad facts indicate what might now happen in Pakistan.
For years America alleged that Osama was hiding in Pakistan. For years the Pakistan authorities denied this and even claimed that Osama was dead. Now that lie has been exposed. For years the Pakistan army was accused of shielding terrorists and Osama bin Laden. The Pakistan army denied it. Now that lie has been exposed. For years the Pakistan army rode two horses. They rode with America in the war on terror, with terrorists in their war for so-called jihad. As a result the Pakistan army and the Pakistan ruling establishment were divided and co-existed in a fragile arrangement.
Now all that will change. The mask has been ripped off. The action against Osama was conducted by the US military inside Pakistan. The Pakistan army cooperated with the US to furnish information about Osama and allow its military to enter and kill Osama in the heart of Pakistan. All claims that the Pakistan army was not in the loop may be taken with buckets of salt. Helicopters carrying US soldiers descended just a short distance from the Pakistan Military Academy to conduct the ambush.
How will the hardcore supporters of terrorism in Pakistan that included elements of the Pakistan army react? The Raymond Davies affair appears very minor in comparison. Obtaining billions of US dollars from the US by its spurious commitment to the war on terror may have justified the Pakistan army’s conduct in the eyes of the fundamentalists up till now. It will no longer do so. The Pakistan government and army have got off the fence and joined America. But has the entire Pakistan establishment got off the fence or only a part? If just one part, how will the residual part now react?
That is what will become clear in the days to come. It should not surprise if the division inside Pakistan escalates to the level of a civil war.