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Bin Laden family to stay in Pakistan during investigation


Zeeshan Haider

| China Daily | Updated: 2011-07-07 08:01

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The wives and children of Osama bin Laden detained in Pakistan will only be repatriated once a government-appointed commission investigating the al-Qaida leader's killing allows them to leave, the commission said.

Sixteen people, including bin Laden's three wives and several children, were detained by Pakistani security forces after US special forces killed bin Laden in the northwestern garrison town of Abbottabad on May 1.

Pakistani officials had said bin Laden's wives, one from Yemen and two from Saudi Arabia, would be repatriated. Some media reports recently suggested that the government had agreed to let bin Laden's youngest wife, Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah, return to her native Yemen.

"The Ministry of Interior and ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) have been directed to ensure that the family of Osama bin Laden is not repatriated from Pakistan without the consent of the commission," the commission said in a statement issued late on Tuesday after its first meeting.

The commission is due to meet again next week.

The government set up the commission, headed by a senior judge, last month amid mounting public fury over the US raid that killed bin Laden which many Pakistanis see as a breach of their sovereignty.

Pakistan's powerful army and the ISI have also faced unprecedented criticism and pressure to explain how the al-Qaida leader was able to live deep inside Pakistan, apparently undetected, for years.

The commission was established after lawmakers, especially in the opposition, demanded a civilian, not military, probe into the killing of bin Laden, which deeply embarrassed Pakistan and severely strained ties with its main ally, the United States.

In the statement issued after Tuesday's meeting, which was closed to the public, the commission urged the public to provide information about the Abbottabad raid, adding that its proceedings would be "independent, transparent, thorough, impartial".


(China Daily 07/07/2011 page11)

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