Doubt and disillusionment seem to be the prescription for the day. A story in a local newspaper has alleged that Save the Children (the NGO accused of carrying out a fake vaccination programme to hunt Bin Laden in league with Dr Shakeel Afridi) was allegedly facilitated in trying to exert influence on the Abbottabad Commission, by commission member General (r) Nadeem Ahmed. His help, according to the report, was obtained and most sympathetically extended to not only nose out each and every development within, but even to influence the findings in respect of Save the Children. Apparentky three drafts of the report concerning the NGO were shared with them, before the report was even sent to the Prime Minister.

After Shakeel Afridi’s links with the NGO were made known in 2012, the NGO was ordered to wind up its operations in Pakistan. The news story has tried to make the connection that the NGO desperately wanted the commission to give it a clean chit so as to be able to continue its presence on our soil.

In a country like ours, where we are obsessed with smoke and mirrors style of deduction, the story will have the greatest success in making neither Save the Children, nor General (r) Nadeem Ahmed questionable characters, but it will instead be most effective in making the entire Abbotabad Commission report suspicious. The fact that a retired general has been accused of exerting bias in an official enquiry, is something that will cast a shadow on the rest of the report, which will no doubt be appreciated by those who wished to discredit its findings when it came to light as an Al-Jazeera scoop.

The government, which was being pushed to officially release the report after its contents were leaked and not contested, will now have the excuse of feigning that the document is controversial. The aspersions cast on the workings of the commission are unfortunate and very worrying to hear. The members of the commission who provided so thorough and brave a dissection of flaws present in all layers of Pakistani government and military structures, have been made a subject of concern after today’s news report.

If true, the allegations must be proven and the government must follow up in investigations whether General (r) Nadeem Ahmed did indeed exert the kind of influence that is implied. If not, the source of the news story must be found and the matter taken to court for causing grave damage to the standing and reputation of the committee members.

However, more than personal reputations, the committee members must speak up and defend their work and protect the veracity of the Abbotabad Commission report against the kind of doubts that will be encouraged after the publication of today’s news story.