In connection with news that Osama bin Laden has been killed in ia helicopter-borne operation at Abbottabad near the Pakistani capital Islamabad, let me provide a link to an article written by me on June 28, 2010, on the hunt for him. As I am travelling to Hyderabad this afternoon and will be returning only tomorrow night, I may not be able to write anything more till I return. Pity he chose to die when I will be travelling!
I wrote, inter alia, as follows:
"The fact that neither the interested reward-seekers nor the CIA Drones have been able to get any inkling of the whereabouts of bin Laden would once again bring to the fore the question which I had raised from time to time in the past. That is, is he really hiding in the tribal areas as assessed by the CIA or is he hiding in the non-tribal areas with the help of Pashtun migrants in those areas. The Drones cannot reach him in the non-tribal areas. There will be many non-tribals interested in the huge cash rewards, but they may not have access to information about him. It is easier to get information in the sparsely-populated tribal areas than in the densely-populated non-tribal areas. In the past, some top-guns of Al Qaeda were found hiding in the non-tribal areas-- Abu Zubaidah in Faislabad in Punjab, Ramzi Binalshibh in Karachi and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad in Rawalpindi. Many Afghan Taliban leaders were found hiding in Karachi and other places and not in Balochistan as used to be assumed.
"While continuing to maintain the present hunt for bin Laden in the tribal areas, it is, therefore, important to extend it to the non-tribal areas too. Karachi, which has more Pashtuns than even Peshawar, needs attention. So too Quetta in Balochistan, which has a large Afghan refugee population, who have given shelter to the leaders of the Afghan Taliban. The strong-holds of the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) in the Punjab and Gilgit-Baltistan are other areas calling for search. Of all the Punjabi Taliban organizations, the LEJ and the JEM are the closest to Al Qaeda."
Read on: The Hunt Continues