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Pakistan is trying to HUSH UP Osama's untold story

Last updated on: April 3, 2012 11:49 IST

Pakistan is trying to HUSH UP Osama's untold story

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Since Osama's mansion has been leveled to the ground and his family members will soon be deported, the saga of the Al Qaeda chief's Pakistan stint may come to an end, says Tahir Ali

A Pakistani court has sentenced the widows and daughters of Al Qaeda's slain chief Osama bin Laden to a 45-day jail term while the commission investigating the raid by United States Special Forces in Abbottabad has already completed its inquiry. But queries like who helped the Al Qaeda chief and his relatives stay in Pakistan so comfortably remain unanswered.

The Pakistani security agencies took the three wives and children of Osama into custody following the death of the world's most wanted man in a raid by US Special Forces in May last year.

The five women are being kept inside a house in Islamabad that the authorities have termed as a 'sub-jail'. Osama's family members will be deported after 15 days, as March 3 is being considered the date of their formal arrest and their total term of imprisonment is only 45 days.

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Image: A picture of Osama bin Laden is seen on a guitar belonging to an Afghan rock musician
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

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Many questions that need to be answered

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Though immigration laws carry sentences of up to five years, Osama's family members have been awarded the minimum punishment as the authorities concerned want to bury this issue as soon as possible.

In February, Pakistani authorities bulldozed the house where Osama had lived in Abbottabad, where the Al Qaeda chief was killed along with his 20-year-old son and his Pakistani hosts.

Since Osama's mansion has been leveled to the ground and his family members will soon be deported, the saga of the Al Qaeda chief's Pakistan stint may come to an end.

But there are still many questions that need to be answered. How did Osama and his family manage to hide in Pakistan for so long without being noticed? Even the commission formed by Pakistani authorities to investigate Osama's killing ignored this vital question, proving its existence indeed as a "colossal waste of time and resources".

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Image: Protesters hold a poster of Osama bin Laden
Photographs: Omar Ibrahim/Reuters

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What did Osama's other wives tell the authorities?

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The testimony given by Osama's youngest wife about their stay in Pakistan, which was leaked to the media, gives some insights into the Al Qaeda chief's life since the 9/11 terror strikes.

But no account is available about what Osama's other wives and children told the authorities during the investigation.

According to the leaked document, Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah, a Yemeni national, married Osama in Kandahar.

"She further revealed that immediately after the incident of 9/11, they all (three wives of Osama and children) scattered and she came to Karachi with one of her daughters. She stayed at Peshawar (in 2002) where she met Osama bin Laden. Then they went to Swat where they stayed for nine months and changed two residences. Thereafter, they shifted to Haripur where they stayed for two years. Subsequently they shifted to Abbottabad and stayed for six year till the time Osama bin Laden was killed on May 2, 2011."

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Image: Children play cricket near the boundary wall of the building where Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed
Photographs: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters

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Osama's Pakistani hosts may have held vital information

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The document quotes her as saying, "Safia (daughter) was the eldest and she was born in Kandahar in 2001. Aasia (daughter) was born in Haripur in Pakistan in 2003 and Ibrahim (son) was also born in Haripur in 2004 in a government hospital. Zainab (daughter) was born in Abbottabad in Pakistan in 2006 and Hussain (son) was also born in Abbottabad in 2008."

The report further states, "According to her, Ibrahim and Abrar families were living with them throughout their stay in Swat, Haripur and Abbottabad and they were actually the host of OBL's family and everything was arranged by them. They were also killed during the attack in May. Khalid, the son of Osama bin Laden, aged 20, was also killed during this operation."

The two Pakistani hosts of Osama and his family members, who died in the raid by US Special Forces, may have held vital information about Osama's activities after 9/11.

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Image: Demolition work is carried out of the building where Aal Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by US Special Forces
Photographs: Reuters

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Osama was forced to retire from Al Qaeda

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According to Shaukat Qadir, a retired Pakistani brigadier, Osama was forced to retire from the post of Al Qaeda chief and live in isolation, disassociated from the movement he had founded. 

"Many questions have been raised by the western media about the house's high barbed wire-topped boundary walls and the sheer size of its compound. How, they wondered, could this house fail to draw the attention of intelligence agencies," wrote Qadir.

When authorities razed Osama's mansion to the ground, the Express Tribune wrote in its editorial, "At a time when we still don't know how he was hiding in a city with a significant military presence for so long, the decision to destroy his house is fraught with symbolic significance. The house may well have been given to bin Laden for strategic reasons, but that is a suspicion that may never be proven because of the distinct lack of curiosity everyone displays whenever the question comes up."

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Image: A child looks up at posters depicting slain Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at a roadside stall in Quetta
Photographs: Naseer Ahmed/Reuters

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