The latest in Pakistan’s military security

This is what I had written previously about Pakistan’s internal military security. The gist being: the only way Pakistan could have been unaware of Osama Bin Laden’s presence in their country (that too in a posh, visible area of their military training city) is if their military intelligence was actually pretty bad.

Well, we all know that this has happened since then: terrorists attacked and made significant progress at the Naval Station Mehran, in Karachi. This was a terrible incident, but the most serious question is: how did the terrorists make such progress against a professional military installation, which should presumably have been on guard against—terrorist attacks?!

And now the latest:

The Pakistan Navy has moved its main battleships out of the Mehran naval base in Karachi to the Makran coast in Balochistan.

[…] The warships were sent away from their main base in Karachi to Ormara in Balochistan as a “precautionary measure”.

So, Pakistan’s military establishment is still not convinced of the security arrangements at their own naval base? Is that not—discouraging, to say the least?

Most troubling, I think, is this quote from a retired official:

Retired Vice-Admiral Javed Iqbal said there is another important benefit of the move: “Unlike many navy bases in Karachi, such as Mehran, that are in the centre of residential areas, Ormara is a far off base,” he said.

Proximity to “residential areas” would matter only if they’re afraid of more attacks, and are concerned about collateral damage, no? Hence—move things away from residential areas, so that civilians are not caught in the crossfire.

Does any of this inspire confidence at all in Pakistan’s security and intelligence establishment?

Did Pakistan really not know? – Part II

Here’s Daily Show, and Jon Stewart, about the Osama Bin Laden episode. Classic, as always:

As I mused a couple of days ago, either Pakistan knew, or their intelligence is really that stupid. Which do you think is the right answer?

On how Pakistan could really not have known about Osama

Salman Rushdie’s take on the idea that Pakistan did not know about Osama’s presence:

Many of us didn’t believe in the image of bin Laden as a wandering Old Man of the Mountains, living on plants and insects in an inhospitable cave somewhere on the porous Pakistan-Afghan border. An extremely big man, 6-foot 4-inches tall in a country where the average male height is around 5-foot 8, wandering around unnoticed for ten years while half the satellites above the earth were looking for him? It didn’t make sense. Bin Laden was born filthy rich and died in a rich man’s house, which he had painstakingly built to the highest specifications. The U.S. administration confesses it was “shocked” by the elaborate nature of the compound.


This time the facts speak too loudly to be hushed up. Osama bin Laden, the world’s most wanted man, was found living at the end of a dirt road 800 yards from the Abbottabad military academy, Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point or Sandhurst, in a military cantonment where soldiers are on every street corner, just about 80 miles from the Pakistani capital Islamabad. This extremely large house had neither a telephone nor an Internet connection. And in spite of this we are supposed to believe that Pakistan didn’t know he was there, and that the Pakistani intelligence, and/or military, and/or civilian authorities did nothing to facilitate his presence in Abbottabad, while he ran al Qaeda, with couriers coming and going, for five years?

I agree, it just seems too flimsy an excuse that they didn’t know – given the circumstances. They could perhaps have not known if he was living in nondescript quarters in a downscale neighborhood of an unknown town, but this seems a bit much.

Unless… Pakistan intelligence is exactly this grossly malfunctioning, and they really didn’t figure it out. In which case, they will be inept at handling intelligence of similar or more serious nature. If this is so, Pakistan should be declared a state that is incapable of managing and protecting its nuclear technology, and be asked forced to dismantle its nuclear installations by the international community.

Which conclusion does Pakistan prefer?