The PJ Tatler

Pakistan: Kerry Longface heads over, Musharraf bristles

Sen. John Kerry is auditioning for a turn at Secretary of State, in a move reminiscent of Jenjis Khan.

Senator John Kerry will travel to Pakistan in coming days to put relations “on the right track” after the killing of Osama bin Laden in a surprise Navy SEALs raid, but he is likely to face fury from the army over what it sees as a breach of trust.

Kerry, a Democrat who is close to the Obama administration, said he expected to see “all the main players” in Pakistan to discuss strains in bilateral ties following the May 2 operation that killed the al Qaeda leader in his Pakistani hideout.

“A number of people suggested it would be good to get a dialogue going about the aftermath and how we get on the right track,” Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters in Washington.

The Pakistanis, smarting after the SEAL raid showed that their airspace and territory can be violated, are not showing any public interest in getting the relationship back on track. Privately, may be another matter, but we’re not seeing that in the press. Their former president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, says there never was a deal that would have allowed the US to swoop in and pop bin Laden, and denies that anyone high in his government or its successor knew that bin Laden was living about a mile from their fine military academy. Neither seems plausible, but they are his current line.

The former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, admitted to ABC News that rogue lower-level members of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence Agencies and military may have helped Osama bin Laden hide in plain sight near the capital, Islamabad. Musharraf also said he agreed with Pakistan’s refusal to allow the U.S. back into bin Laden’s compound.

“No government can accept a violation of their sovereignty,” Musharraf said in an interview with ABC News Chief Law and Justice Correspondent Chris Cuomo.

In the interview Musharraf called Osama bin Laden’s six-year residence in the military town of Abbottabad, Pakistan, a “big blunder” on the part of Pakistani intelligence. But he also warned the United States that if it continues to alienate Pakistan as they did in the bin Laden raid, the U.S. will be the “loser.”

All this leaves open the possibility, which some may reasonably treat as a conclusion, that the Pakistani government simply doesn’t have control of its military or the ISI.