By Philip Ittner
While much of the reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden has been celebratory, the feeling is very different in the country where U.S. forces found and killed the terrorist leader.
In Pakistan, the mood is not jubilant. Rather, there is a sense of stunned silence.
In a carefully worded release from the foreign minister, the Pakistani government acknowledged that a U.S. team conducted the operation inside Pakistani territory. It did not say what role Pakistan took in that operation.
On Pakistani media, the bin Laden killing is occupying all the time, mostly with reaction from pundits and former government members.
From some quarters, there is anger at the United States conducting a mission inside Pakistan.
With Al Qaida being the primary reason United States launched is war in the region, the death of the network’s leader is seen here by some as a chance to push for the United States to leave the region.
From some, there is concern that Pakistan will be attacked in response for the death of bin Laden.
Tasneem Nooran is a former Pakistani secretary for the interior. He says he thinks the terrorist networks very well may strike back at Pakistan.
“The extremist group in Pakistan will hold the government responsible… and will hold the state responsible. I think you will see more terrorism here in retaliation,” Nooran said.
The statement from the foreign ministry says that Al Qaeda declared war on Pakistan and that the authorities will continue to support international efforts against terrorism. It points out that Pakistan has lost thousands of soldiers and civilians to terrorist attacks.
Many Pakistanis have been frustrated with the ongoing war in Afghanistan and with U.S. counterterrorism efforts on Pakistani soil.
But many critics say Pakistan continues to harbor terrorists.
The fact that bin Laden was found inside Pakistan and in the same town as the country’s elite military academy has not gone unnoticed.
For former secretary Nooran, it gives ammunition to those in the west who would like to justify their covert actions in Pakistan.
“As far as the west is concerned, they will thumb their nose at Pakistan and to say ‘we told you so’ and to run down the credibility of Pakistan,” Nooran noted.
Journalists and pundits in the media are already saying that there may be fallout for Pakistan from how this operation happened and the location of where bin Laden was ultimately found.
But, mostly, Pakistanis seem to be waiting to see what comes next. And, many are expressing concern rather than jubilation.