A year after Prime Minister Imran Khan called assassinated al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden a “shahid” (martyr), Pakistan’s information minister clarified on Sunday that it was his boss’s “slip of the tongue”.
Speaking in parliament on June 25 last year, Khan said that American troops entered Pakistan and killed bin Laden without informing the government, after which everyone began to insult his country.
“I don’t think there is a country that supported the war on terror and had to be embarrassed about it. Pakistan has also been openly blamed for the US failure in Afghanistan, ”Khan said.
“For Pakistanis around the world, it was an awkward moment when the Americans came and killed Osama bin Laden in Abottabad … tortured him. After that, the whole world began to mock us. Our ally entered our country and killed someone without informing us. “And 70,000 Pakistanis have died in the US war on terror,” he told lawmakers, prompting criticism from the opposition as well as the media.
Bin Laden, then the most wanted terrorist in the world, was killed by US seals during a covert military operation in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad in May 2011.
Speaking on Geo News’ Jirga program on Sunday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said: “It was a reservation. He clarified it, ”the minister said, referring to Khan’s controversial statements.
Controversy resurfaced last week when Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi refrained from calling Osama bin Laden a terrorist in an interview with Afghan newspaper Tolo News.
When the interviewer quoted Prime Minister Imran as calling bin Laden a “martyr,” Qureshi said, “Well, again. Out of context. He (the prime minister) was quoted out of context. And a certain part of the media is pairing it up. “
When asked if he disagreed, the Foreign Minister was silent for a while and then said, “I’ll leave it alone,” the Dawn newspaper reported.
A leading Pakistani in an editorial noted that Qureshi’s refusal to name bin Laden a terrorist in an interview with Afghan media is bewildering and defying logic.
“There are times when you need to speak diplomatically and fend off unpleasant questions. However, this does not seem to be one such case, ”Dawn said.
“Mr. Qureshi could use this opportunity to make it clear that Pakistan believes the late mastermind of Al Qaeda is a terrorist. However, his non-binding comments sent the wrong message to the global audience, ”the message says.
“Pakistani top leadership should be absolutely clear when it comes to describing militants like bin Laden,” the editorial underlines.
When asked by a Tolo News anchor about Qureshi’s comments, Information Minister Chaudhry said the Foreign Minister’s refusal to name bin Laden a terrorist could have been due to his desire to “move forward, not look into the past.”
The Minister of Information said that last year, the spokesman for the Prime Minister, Imran, gave clarifications after his speech. He stressed that Pakistan has made the most sacrifices in the war on terrorism.
“Our position is very clear,” said a senior Pakistani leader, Khan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), adding that “when our own media exaggerate, then of course foreign [media] will pick them up from local sources. “