Calls Grow Louder For Probe Into Pakistan's Military The U.S. operation that killed Osama Bin Laden at his Pakistani compound is re-shaping Pakistan's political landscape, and unleashing unprecedented criticism of its military. The raid, which humiliated Pakistan's army, is only one of a series of events that erupted in recent weeks challenging the powerful Pakistani military in ways thought unimaginable two months ago.
NPR logo

Calls Grow Louder For Probe Into Pakistan's Military

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Calls Grow Louder For Probe Into Pakistan's Military

Calls Grow Louder For Probe Into Pakistan's Military

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


We should warn you that the first three minutes of this next report may, in some places, be disturbing. Here's NPR's Julie McCarthy.

JULIE MCCARTHY: Just as Pakistan was getting over the shock of the bin Laden operation, a disbelieving public watched as militants laid siege to Pakistan's naval complex in Karachi.


MCCARTHY: (Foreign language spoken)

MCCARTHY: Saleem Shahzad had documented his problems with the ISI, the country's ubiquitous intelligence agency, and left a statement blaming the ISI if he were harmed. He turned up June 1st, dead.


MCCARTHY: As the public was absorbing the murder of the Asia Times Online bureau chief, another incident in Karachi this month ignited a national furor.



MCCARTHY: This caught-on-camera killing shows a Pakistani ranger shooting at point-blank range an unarmed teenager suspected of stealing. As he pleads for help in a pool of blood, the video captures Sarfaraz Shah's life ebbing away. The rangers did nothing as he laid dying. The killing, seen by millions, infuriated Pakistanis tired of impunity and already fuming over their armed forces' apparent incompetence in connection with the American raid on bin Laden.

MCCARTHY: And they are challenging its performance, they are challenging its policy, they are seeking accountability, they are seeking results.

MCCARTHY: Retired Lieutenant General and defense analyst Talat Maud says a new landscape is emerging in the aftermath of the bin Laden raid, which he says kicked open the door to unprecedented public anger about everything from the military's unpublished budget to the lavish way its elite officers live.

MCCARTHY: It's one of the most extraordinary changes that are taking place in Pakistan. All the sacred cows are being challenged: the military and the military leadership; the intelligence agencies, including the interservices intelligence agency, the ISI. And the whole myth and aura that surrounded the military is over.

MCCARTHY: (Foreign language spoken)

MCCARTHY: Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif now confronts the military and the ISI in ways few would have dared even two months ago. A promised commission to probe the U.S. raid on bin Laden, and the inquiry into the murder of journalist Shahzad, were mired in weeks of delays. Sharif presses the question...

MCCARTHY: (Foreign language spoken)

MCCARTHY: As questions mount, Pakistan's military and intelligence community have assumed a defensive crouch. And they've lashed out - rounding up residents in Abbottabad, where bin Laden lived; accusing them of helping Americans spy on his compound in the run-up to the U.S. raid that killed him.

W: Please, please don't talk to me; I don't want to eat pulses - which is a shorthand way of saying, I don't want to go to jail.


MCCARTHY: Do you have any sense about how many of your neighbors were arrested?

MCCARTHY: (Foreign language spoken)

MCCARTHY: Five were arrested. Can you name them? Do you know who they are? Do you know these neighbors?

MCCARTHY: (Foreign language spoken)

MCCARTHY: He says he believes they've done nothing wrong.

MCCARTHY: (Foreign language spoken)

MCCARTHY: Haji Rashid says the people who have been arrested in that area are poor, ordinary citizens, and he doubts they were informants for the CIA.


MCCARTHY: Even back in the military town of Abbottabad, there are pockets of public dismay. In a lively market on the opposite side of town from bin Laden's compound, we find Mohammad Yousuf. The toothless 73-year-old has lost all patience with Pakistan's leadership.

MCCARTHY: I say there is no government, there is no security, there is no military. They don't think about the people.

MCCARTHY: Despite the loud grumbling, defense analyst Ayesha Siddiqa sees no sign that the armed forces are yielding to the clamor that average citizens be better protected, or offering any open-hearted admission of fault.

MCCARTHY: Instead, the way they want to present the situation is some kind of a conspiracy, an attack on the military. They're not seeing the reality as you or I would see it.

MCCARTHY: Army spokesman General Attar Abbas rejects that as untrue and completely unfounded. Yet a sense of dread is gathering. Another young reporter has gone missing. At least two prominent television anchors report that they have received threats, which they believe are emanating from the intelligence agency the ISI. Supreme Court Bar Association President Asma Jahangir says Pakistan's lawyers face the same intimidation as the journalists.

MCCARTHY: There have been lawyers who have been killed. There have been lawyers who've been kidnapped. There have been lawyers who have been threatened, either by state agents themselves or by those whom the state agents sponsor and protect.

MCCARTHY: Ayesha Siddiqa insists the prevailing reality is very disturbing.

MCCARTHY: I'm suggesting something very dramatic - that each one of us who is a thinking, questioning Pakistani should now be writing their own obituaries.

MCCARTHY: Julie McCarthy, NPR News, Islamabad.


INSKEEP: Julie's part of a team of correspondents that has expanded their coverage of the world even as others step back. You hear her on NPR News.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.