Prime Minister Imran Khan faced a growing backlash by the opposition as well as the people on Thursday for referring to Osama Bin Laden, who was killed in a drone attack by the United States in 2011, as a ‘martyr’.
Delivering a speech in the Pakistan parliament, Khan said:
“The Americans came to Abbottabad [in Pakistan] and killed Osama bin Laden, shaheed kar diya [martyred him]. What happened after that? The entire world cursed at us and spoke ill of us.”
PM Pakistan Imran Khan considers Osama bin Laden a martyr. pic.twitter.com/tax0t3V5wg
— Naila Inayat नायला इनायत (@nailainayat) June 25, 2020
When talking about Pakistan’s relations with the United States, Khan also said that although Pakistan supported Washington’s ‘War on terror’, which was launched due to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center that killed nearly 3,000 people, yet the country suffered a lot of humiliation. He added that after this humiliation, Pakistan was also blamed for the failures of the United States in Afghanistan.
“We sided with the US in the War on Terror,” Khan said, “but they came here and killed him, martyred him and … used abusive language against us (and) did not inform us (of the raid), despite the fact that we lost 70,000 people in the war on terror.”
But Later on, the opposition parties started criticizing PM Imran Khan for calling Osama Bin Laden a martyr. Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz leader Khawaja Asif said, “Bin Laden brought terrorism to our lands, he was a terrorist through and through and he [Khan] calls him shaheed?”
“Imran Khan has fiddled with history, declaring Osama bin Laden as a martyr today,” he further added.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that it is during Imran’s government’s tenure that “those involved in APS attack ‘escaped’ and those involved in Daniel Pearl’s murder get relief”.
PM IK calling OBL a martyr in NA is consistent with his history of appeasement to violent extremism. It is during his govt that those involved in APS attack “escaped” & those involved in Daniel Pearls murder get relief. Running with the hare & hunting with the hound.
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) June 25, 2020
Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar of Pakistan People’s Party called Khan a ‘national security threat’. “If he [Laden] is a martyr, then what is the status of those civilians and members of our armed forces who embraced martyrdom in the attacks by Al Qaeda?” Khokhar said.
Senator Sherry Rehman of Pakistan People’s Party said that Pakistan is still facing terrorist attacks due to the actions of Osama Bin Laden.
“Because of him the country is in such a state and you are presenting him as a hero on the Assembly floor? Remember that Osama Bin Laden can be the PM’s hero but not the nation’s. He was and will remain a criminal of the state and the people,” she tweeted.
تاریخ میں لکھا جائے گا کے ایک شخص جس کی وجہ سے ملک کا امن اور نسلیں تباہ ہو گئیں، اس شخص کو وقت کے وزیراعظم نے قوم اور دنیا کے سامنے ہیرو بنا کر پیش کیا۔
یاد رکھنا اسامہ بن لادن وزیراعظم کا ہیرو ہو سکتا ہے لیکن اس ملک اور عوام کا نہیں۔ وہ پاکستان اور قوم کا مجرم تھا اور رہے گا
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) June 25, 2020