Pakistanis had barely recovered from the shady anti-climax Raymond Davis episode, when they had to face another national humiliation: the US Navy Seals conducted a special heliborne operation codenamed 'Geronimo EKIA to 'capture and kill Osama bin Laden from Abbottabad in the wee hours of May 2. The nations anger and frustration is justified because the countrys security, sovereignty and self-respect were trampled through the first ever major US military operation deep inside Pakistan. Had Osama been killed or captured even by US commando action on the Pak-Afghan border mountainous terrain, domestic reaction would have been less intense and Pakistan would have been saved from a lot of international embarrassment and bashing. If the ISI had provided vital leads to the CIA about the Abbottabad compound known to the locals as 'Waziristan haveli, our forces should have undertaken the action as was done by capturing and handing over many Al-Qaeda leaders to the US in the past. Letting the initiative slip into US hands not only resulted in serious breach of our sovereignty and security, but also set a dangerous precedence for the future. Pakistans top leadership failed to display statesmanship in this hour of national crisis. Just like President Zardari, who flew off to his French Chateau the day the floods ravaged the country last August, Prime Minister Gilani , too, failed to comprehend the implications of the US operation and proceeded to Paris on an official visit. The Army Chief General Kayani, very sensibly, called off his Brussels visit to deal with the situation. The reaction of the top Pakistani leadership after the Abbottabad debacle was no less a blow to national pride (if any still left) and lowered our heads in shame. When CIA Chief Leon Panetta was asked by the TV anchorperson, if the Pakistani leadership had protested on being informed about the unilateral US action, he revealed that the first response from the Pakistani leader was the word congratulations. While our leaders name was not disclosed, it can be easily guessed. President Zardaris article, which promptly appeared in the foreign press shortly after the Abbottabad strike, failed to condemn the blatant US violation of international laws and Pakistans independence. The Prime Minister is reported to have enthusiastically termed the US operation a great victory. Even the statement emanating from our Washington Embassy showed complete disconnect with the Foreign Office, and the military establishments point of view, and makes us wonder if our Ambassador there was really following the Pakistani agenda. The grave national security crisis warranted an emergent session of the DCC (Defence Committee of the Cabinet), which is the countrys top national security body. Headed by the Prime Minister, the DCC has members including the Defence, Foreign, Interior and Finance Ministers, the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Services Chiefs. Instead, the governments priority of the day related more to its political wheeling and dealing with the PML-Q and the oath taking ceremony, being totally unmoved by the catastrophe that had hit the country. This now brings me to the harsh reality that with all the security related challenges, Pakistan functions without a national security policy/strategy, which is the responsibility of the DCC that has rarely met in the last three years. The Parliamentary Committee on National Security headed by Senator Raza Rabbani, too, has shown little interest in this regard. Even the Defence Minister has hardly ever chaired any meeting of the Defence Council, along with its members (CJCSC, Services Chiefs, and Secretary Defence), during this tenure of office. He is nowhere to be seen or heard since this national disaster. The fact, the country remains without a full time Foreign Minister as well as the National Security Advisor that was reflected in the total chaos and lack of coordination between the key elements of national power. General Kayani may have rightly ordered a high level investigation to probe into the intelligence lapses. But there needs to be a larger and broad-based inquiry by an independent National Commission headed by an eminent and credible national figure assisted by concerned senior experts, that should also review any inadequacies in our air defence system, the circumstances leading to the illegal CIA penetration in Pakistan and the collective failure of the state machinery and the nations top leadership. The call for an effective legislation and parliamentary oversight and reforms to regulate the functioning and operation of the national intelligence setups also merits consideration by this commission. The fact that the US helicopters with stealth technology evaded our air defence network, despite the induction of the state-of-the-art Swedish AWACS and modernisation of our radar network, should ring alarm bells for a fresh review of the security of our strategic installations, so as to boost their foolproof safety against any future US or joint Indo-US misadventure. If the public seeks the immediate resignation of the DG ISI for the intelligence lapses, then our Ambassador in Washington DC and the Interior Minister must also be asked to quit for the 7,000 visas scam in which foreigners with dubious backgrounds were issued visas indiscriminately without following the government procedures. No wonder the CIA established a parallel network of safe houses in our towns, including the one in Abbottabad to observe Waziristan haveli. The US has surely crossed the redline. Any operation to apprehend Al-Qaeda terrorists anywhere in Pakistan is unquestionably the sole prerogative of the Pakistani security forces based on actionable intelligence from the ISI/CIA, duly coordinated by and through the ISI. Both these agencies need to redefine the parameters of their working relationship and intelligence cooperation. The political leadership must also assert and support the army or ISIs effort to wind up the CIAs network in Pakistan. Operation Geronimo could, to a degree, also be the US response to CIAs humiliation in the Raymond Davis affair; the army or ISIs pressure to dismantle CIAs covert intelligence network; the forced eviction of dozens of CIA operatives from Pakistan; and the nationwide protests against US drone attacks. The US attacked the countrys centre of gravity, the stability of the armed forces so as to sow the seeds of distrust between the civilians and military/security establishment, tarnish the latters image at the international level and weaken the army or ISIs bargaining position on the Pak-US negotiating table in future. Pakistanis are worried if the nations security interests would really be protected as long as the current leadership continues to prostrate before the US. Whether it really was Osamas body in the white shroud that was consigned from the US Aircraft Carriers deck to the Arabian Sea, may never be known, but the weighted bag certainly carried with it whatever little trust that remained between Pakistan and the US. n The writer is a retired Brigadier Email: fhkhan54@gmail.com