The Pakistani government's official inquiry into the killing of Osama bin Laden makes for interesting reading. Leaked to Al Jazeera, it sheds some unflattering light on Pakistan's involvement with extremists.
The beginning of the report, with its breathless account of the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden, reads like a companion document to "Zero Dark Thirty." (He was unarmed when found, it confirms.) The report reveals that in 2002, bin Laden actually had a run-in with a Pakistani police officer.
"Bin Laden himself was stopped by a traffic policeman in Pakistan's Swat Valley while travelling in a car to the local bazaar," reports The Independent. A friend of bin Laden quickly took care of the matter, "allowing the former Al Qaeda leader to remain under the radar."
On the all-important issue of whether Pakistani officialdom knowingly sheltered bin Laden, the report fails to provide clear-cut answers, even as it raises suspicions: "Given the length of stay and the changes of residence of [bin Laden] and his family in Pakistan ... the possibility of some such direct or indirect and 'plausibly deniable' support cannot be ruled out."
The report's favorite phrase seems to be "government implosion syndrome," which it repeatedly uses to answer why bin Laden was not found.
In a few portions, the report is almost amusing to read, with its quotations of Noam Chomsky and Bob Woodward to critique U.S. policy. And the report rhetorically asks what would be the reaction in the United States if an Iraqi commando team killed George W. Bush in the United States for his invasion of Iraq.
But the finale is what really packs a punch. Here, in the process of criticizing individual Pakistani government agencies, the report broadly critiques Pakistan's policy, indeed the entire trajectory of Pakistan since the 1980s. In the process, it leaves few stones unturned.
"The legacy of unconstitutional military rule and in particular the dark era of General Zia ul Haq left Pakistan with the poisoned legacy of a criminal, violent, ideological and anti-national infrastructure of extremism," the report states. "This has stymied the growth of Pakistan. It has contributed to the devastation of Pakistan's national life, its international isolation, and a mockery of its independence and sovereignty."
In fact, it calls for a drastic rethink of Pakistani security and developmental strategy.
"Pakistan's options vis-à-vis the external challenges it faced in later years were maximized rather than minimized due to lack of good governance," it states. " A continued lack of commitment and priority in addressing this problem of illegal violent and parallel governance in support of extremists agendas through acts of terror in the false garb of sacred causes will progressively sink the country. May 2  was a wake-up call. We ignore it at our own peril."
Amitabh Pal, the managing editor of The Progressive and co-editor of the Progressive Media Project, is the author of "Islam" Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today (Praeger).