Pakistanis Skeptical and Suspicious of Abbotabad Operation

May 6, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

Pakistani people and media personnel gather in front of the final hiding place of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 5. Pakistan faces the prospect of Osama bin Laden's final hiding place becoming a shrine or macabre tourist spot unless the military destroys a compound attracting hundreds of visitors a day. (Asif Hassan/Getty Images)
Pakistani people and media personnel gather in front of the final hiding place of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 5. Pakistan faces the prospect of Osama bin Laden's final hiding place becoming a shrine or macabre tourist spot unless the military destroys a compound attracting hundreds of visitors a day. (Asif Hassan/Getty Images)
ISLAMABAD—While people around the world celebrated Osama bin Laden’s death, Pakistanis greeted the news more reservedly, sobered by the impact of years of war on terror in and around their country.

Since the U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in his compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan, May 1, skepticism and suspicion of U.S. and Pakistani governments has prevailed in the Pakistani public.

The majority of Pakistanis believe that their government is not disclosing how much it knew about the operation. Pakistan’s official position is that that the government had no prior knowledge of U.S.’s planned raid inside its borders.

A lesser portion of the populace says they haven’t seen enough physical proof that bin Laden is dead because the body was buried at sea and the pictures have not been shown to the public. Highlighting Pakistani skepticism, a recent survey in a local Islamabad paper asked, “Will the release of U.S.'s Abbottabad raid pictures help remove public doubt about Osama’s killing?

Some Pakistanis, also don’t believe that bin Laden lived in Pakistan.

Muhammad Idrees, a carpenter in Islamabad said he is skeptical of everything governments are saying about bin Laden’s life and death. “I think it is not true,” he told The Epoch Times. “The Pakistani government and the U.S. government are telling us lies and their stories keep changing.”

Ulterior Motives

Pakistanis cite a range of motives they believe the Obama administration is not admitting to.

The majority of Pakistanis say they think there is more to the story than politicians are telling the public and that the United States wants to use bin Laden as a reason to bring troops into the country the way it did in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A university student in Islamabad echoed the popular sentiment that Obama is exploiting the grief and fear surrounding 9/11.

“An election year is coming up, Obama is playing on the emotions of the American public,” said Majid Hussain.

Some also believe that the United States sees Pakistan as a very important strategic location and is looking for a way to legitimize occupying it.

“Pakistan does not have oil but it is very important geopolitically,” Hussain noted.

Terrorist Violence

According to Pakistan’s own statistics, about 20,000 people have died in the country from terrorist violence in the last eight years.

Many Pakistani’s believe that they will continue to bare the brunt of the war on terror with the United States continuing its offensive and the Taliban and al-Qaeda striking in retaliation.

One man expressed his own weariness at the death and violence from terrorism since 9/11. “It’s like a bad dream, and I wish it had never happened,” said a retired businessman in Karachi who identified himself as Mr. Amanullah.

His wife, a teacher in Karachi, said that she doesn’t believe bin Laden’s death will diminish terrorist atrocities in Pakistan.

“There have been so many lives lost due to terrorism here in Pakistan,” said Mrs. Amanullah. “I can’t believe it will get any better with him dead, anywhere in the world because he was only one [leader] of al-Qaeda.”

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