ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhary has clarified that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement regarding Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was a ”slip of the tongue”.
PM Khan had earlier referred to Osama bin Laden as a martyr. Fawad Chaudhary, while speaking on a show stated that the PM’s statement was a mistake and that Pakistan considers Osama bin Laden a militant and his organization as a terrorist outfit.
He further added that “Pakistan has voted in the UN on the War on Terror [against militants], we are a voter on a [UN] list that declared Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda terrorists”.
He also said that ”Pakistan has suffered the most in the war against terrorism”.
Recently, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was also asked about the PM’s statement in an interview to which he responded “He [PM Imran Khan] was quoted out of context. And, uh, you know, a particular section of the media played it up”.
Furthermore, the Foreign Minister also added that he will ”let that pass” because he did not want to address the issue and move past it.
Addressing Pakistan’s national assembly in June last year, Imran Khan had termed bin Laden, who was killed in 2011 by US special forces in Abbottabad, a “martyr.” “I will never forget how we Pakistanis were embarrassed when the Americans came into Abbottabad and killed Osama bin Laden, martyred him,” Khan had said.
Pakistan was not informed in advance when the US Navy Seals carried out Operation Neptune Spear to eliminate Osama bin Laden under cover of darkness in Abbottabad. Bin Laden was accused of engineering a number of terror attacks worldwide, particularly targeting the American installations including the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
One year after Prime Minister Imran Khan described slain Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as a “shaheed” (martyr), Pakistan’s information minister on Sunday clarified that it was a “slip of the tongue” by his boss.
Speaking in Parliament on June 25 last year, Khan said the American forces entered Pakistan and killed bin Laden without informing the government after which everyone started abusing his country.
“I don’t think there’s a country which supported the war on terror and had to face embarrassment for it. Pakistan was also openly blamed for US’ failure in Afghanistan,” Khan had said.
“For Pakistanis across the globe, it was an embarrassing moment when the Americans came and killed Osama bin Laden at Abottabad…martyred him. The whole world started abusing us after that. Our ally came inside our country and killed someone without informing us. And, 70,000 Pakistanis died because of US’ war on terror,” he told lawmakers, drawing criticism from the Opposition as well as from the media.
Bin Laden, then the world’s most wanted terrorist, was killed by US Navy Seals in a covert military operation in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad in May, 2011.