WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani Monday rejected a NATO official’s claim that Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is living comfortably in a house in northwest Pakistan, saying there was no basis to it.“This is speculation because if he knew it, it would be actionable intelligence; we would act on it,” he said on CNN, which reported that, citing NATO official, who was not named.“I mean, we can speculate on certain people in NATO and Afghanistan living it up, but that’s just speculation. Why—why should we get into the speculation?“The reason why this statement is not made officially and publicly by NATO is because they do not have any basis to make that statement,” ambassador Haqqani added.Asked whether some elements in ISI were protecting the al-Qaeda leader and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, he said, “If, anybody who thinks that Pakistan or any other state, for that matter, has any interest in protecting bin Laden, who has brought nothing but mayhem to the world, is smoking something they shouldn’t be smoking.”
When pressed that the statement on Osama bin Laden was made by a NATO official, the Pakistan envoy said, “They would say that so that no one asks them questions about what their own performance is in Afghanistan. But that said, if this was really a serious matter, they wouldn’t be saying it off the record or on background. They would say it publicly.
“Publicly, the fact remains that all the success that the United States has had in apprehending al Qaeda personal in Pakistan has been with the help of Pakistan’s intelligence services, the same ISI that everybody insists on demonizing.”
Responding to another question, Haqqani said that NATO and US had shared no intelligence with Pakistan about Osama bin Laden over the past few years.“Pakistani troops are there, and not only that. They have conducted operations against the Taliban and very successful ones,” he said.“The fact of the matter is that, if NATO had any intelligence on this, if the United States had intelligence, they would share it with us. In the last few years, they have never shared any intelligence with Pakistan or Pakistan’s military on the specific whereabouts of Mr. bin Laden. And not only bin Laden, any al Qaeda person about whom intelligence has ever been shared with us, we have always helped America and NATO apprehend them.
“Pakistan is a major non-NATO ally. And I think Pakistan and the United States have done great things together in the last several years, especially in the last 2 ½ years. We will continue to work together as allies.”Asked about the extent of al-Qaeda chief’s support in Pakistan, Haqqani sdaid, “There was a lot more support until recently. In the last few years, Pakistan has been a tremendous job of convincing people that bin Laden represents mayhem and—and trouble. He does not represent Islam. That said, the United States and Pakistan need to continue to work together to win even more hearts and minds of people …”
When told that US was probably suspicious of sharing information with Pakistan over such a sensitive mattre, Haqqani said, “Absolutely. We understand if they don’t trust us. But the question is, is not trusting us helping them find the targets? And is talking about not trusting us helping them attain any objectives? Neither serves any purpose.
“So I’m a little astounded by this official. And I’m going to try and talk to senior NATO officials to ascertain if they really share his views. I don’t think they do, and I don’t think they should – App