The documents purporting to be in the possession of Osama bin Laden, discovered from his Abbottabad compound during the raid on May 2, 2011, by the American SEALs, so far give a clean chit to Pakistan about the alleged association of some its security officials with al-Qaeda. Some are supposed to be copies of letters written by bin Laden and his lieutenants to their operatives or documents listing future al-Qaeda plans. It must be recalled that the US Administration has been accusing unknown former ISI officials of hobnobbing with al-Qaeda and being complicit in its acts of militancy. The documents do make a vague mention of “trusted Pakistani brothers”, but that could just mean any Pakistani citizens, for instance those who believed that his cause was just or even religious groups whose views are no secret. They could be agents whose professional duties include contacts with leaders of different persuasions and whose names also figure in some of the 17 documents declassified by the US and released to the press on Thursday. That government officials, whether retired or serving, were involved seems too far-fetched. Besides, there is no reference to any role these “trusted Pakistani brothers” were playing; most probably, they were sympathisers of al-Qaeda’s cause; and one can find a stunningly huge number who are its sympathisers not only in Pakistan, but also elsewhere. There could be difference of opinion about the mode he was employing to achieve his objective, but the cause itself could win support or at least sympathy. Al-Qaeda’s main, perhaps the only, grievance against the US and the West was: the oppression of the Palestinians by Israel, the American outpost in the Middle East, and the economic and political injustice of Muslims through the exploitation of resources of the Arab countries.

Bin Laden’s plan to kill President Obama and General Petraeus, were likely precipitated by his assumption that they were equally determined to take him out. Another revealing aspect of his thoughts is his aversion to the indiscriminate murder of people, including women and children. One of his aides, according to the documents, expressed strong displeasure at the Tehrik-e-Taliban for targeting mosques, official buildings and public places where innocent persons would become the victims and warned the TTP against it. This would absolve bin Laden from the charge that in the name of religion, which gave an unmistakable message of peace and love for humanity, his outfit was indulging in such a reprehensible practice.

Yet, the most noteworthy point for Islamabad and Washington in these documents, issued by the US, is an indirect disclaimer by al-Qaeda chief that the Pakistan government or any of its minions had been hobnobbing with his group. One wonders how the US would make up for its persistent accusations that Pakistan was siding with it and the consequences of this charge that Pakistan has to bear.