One of Bin Laden’s wives – a Yemeni national who was shot in the leg in the May 2 US special forces’ operation in Abbottabad – is undergoing medical treatment and interrogation in Pakistan along with 15 other relatives of the slain al Qaeda chief.
“It’s a new dilemma for Islamabad. A wrong decision about the future of Bin Laden’s family may create more problems for Pakistan,” an official source told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity. “We can’t force the family out of the country without their consent,” he added.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik is in Riyadh to discuss Islamabad’s possible plan to hand over the family to Saudi Arabia as Yemen has already refused to accept the Yemeni wife of Bin Laden or her children, revealed another official source.
اسلام آباد (سجاد ترین/ خبرنگار خصوصی) سعودی عرب نے پاکستان میں گرفتار اسامہ بن لادن کی بیویوں اور بچوں کو قبول کرنے سے انکار کرتے ہوئے مﺅقف اختیار کیا ہے کہ سعودی عرب کی حکومت نے اسامہ بن لادن کی شہریت ختم کر دی تھی جس کے بعد اسامہ بن لادن اور ان کے خاندان کے لوگوں کا سعودی عرب کی سرزمین سے کوئی تعلق نہیں رہا۔ یہ بات وزارت داخلہ کے ذرائع نے بتائی ہے۔
“Islamabad cannot house Bin Laden’s family in a Pakistani city,” the source said, adding that this could open another Pandora’s Box for Pakistan. “We want to solve this issue before far-right parties and religious extremists, who have declared Bin Laden a martyr, start creating trouble for us,” the official source said.
Islamabad says that the in-laws of the widow, the Bin Laden family, which is based in Saudi Arabia, should accept their daughter-in-law and grandchildren.
But the kingdom may not accept the family as Riyadh had stripped Bin Laden of citizenship under pressure from the United States in 1994. His family had publicly disowned him the same year.
According to an unconfirmed report, Bin Laden’s second wife is the daughter of a prominent Afghan Taliban leader who was also present in the compound where the al Qaeda chief was killed in the May 2 Abbottabad raid.
Bin Laden’s Yemeni wife is said to have told investigators that they had lived for five years in the compound in Abbottabad.
“She said in Arabic that Bin Laden and his family were living in this compound for the last five years and he never left the compound,” one security official said.
“But this is only her statement and we have not yet corroborated it,” the official added. A second security official confirmed the information.
Meanwhile, in Abbottabad, where Bin Laden was finally tracked down after a decade-long manhunt, police marshalled a rally of about 1,000 men.
Setting fire to tyres and blocking a main road, the protesters raised anti-US slogans. (With additional input from AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2011.