Ismail Khan in Dawn:
Peshawar: Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed along with his son and three bodyguards in a helicopter assault on a mansion in the northern city of Abbottabad late Sunday night to bring to an end the biggest-ever manhunt by the United States.
Reports suggest that Bin Laden was shot dead with a single bullet to his head when he resisted capture, but an official indicated that the 54-year-old mastermind of the biggest and most devastating attack on US soil might have been killed by one of his own guards in line with his will to avert his capture.
“From the scene of the gunbattle it doesn’t look like he could have been killed at point blank range from such a close angle, while offering resistance,” said an official, who visited the scene of the night assault soon after the departure of the US assault team from the sprawling compound in Thanda Choa, now called Bilal Town, at stone’s throw from Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul.
Details are sketchy about the circumstances leading to the raid on the living quarters inside the large compound surrounded by unusually high walls and fences, but background discussions with government and security officials do help in reconstructing the high drama that culminated in the death of America’s most wanted man. More:
Pervez Hoodbhoy on the tenth anniversary of Pakistan’s testing of the nuclear bomb in Dawn [via 3QuarksDaily]
IT’S May 1998 and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulates wildly cheering citizens as the Chagai mountain trembles and goes white from multiple nuclear explosions. He declares that Pakistan is now safe and sound forever.
Bomb makers become national heroes. Schoolchildren are handed free badges with mushroom clouds. Bomb and missile replicas are planted in cities up and down the land. Welcome to nuclear Pakistan.
Fast-forward the video 10 years. Pakistan turns into a different country, deeply insecure and afraid for its future. Grim-faced citizens see machine-gun bunkers, soldiers crouched behind sandbags, barbed wire and barricaded streets. In Balochistan and Fata, helicopter gunships and fighter jets swarm the skies.
Today, we are at war on multiple fronts. But the bomb provides no defence. Rather, it has helped bring us to this grievously troubled situation and offers no way out. On this awful anniversary, it is important that we relate the present to the past.
Anjum Niaz in Dawn, Karachi, on the Zardari makeover:
Forgive me Coen brothers for borrowing the title of your film that fetched four Oscars last Sunday. This column is not about Academy Awards, but the vanity of man. It’s about the makeover of men who can’t make up their minds whether to let their hair and moustaches look grey, white or black.
If they were ordinary people, they would not have cared. But they are our stellar material, who hit the mini-screen day and night and are in-and-out of our living rooms. Put under the glaring lights of cameras, these guys come across as a confused bunch when it comes to personal grooming. They, I’m sure, have enough money to pay super image-makers and pricey consultants to advise them on what colour conforms to the needs of the time.
This VVIP hair-colour-confusion is a tale as old as the hills. In America, a wrinkled Ronald Reagan showed off his boot polish black puff until the last day in office at the White House. Even though the aging president had begun to show signs of Alzheimer’s and quite easily forgot names of dignitaries, once addressing Prince Charles as Princess of Wales at a glittering gala, his unmistakable Hollywood-style hairdo never floundered. It seemed stuck to his head like glue.