In 2020, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan had called former Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of 9/11 terror attacks in the US in 2001, a ‘martyr’ while addressing the country’s parliament, the National Assembly.
His foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi in his interview to an Afghanistan-based TV news channel ducked the question on Imran Khan’s view about Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a secret mission by the US forces in 2011 in Pakistan.
After fluttering a little while responding to the question, Shah Mahmood Qureshi decided to “pass” it.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan called Osama bin Laden a martyr,” said TOLO news journalist Lotfullah Najafizada seeking Qureshi’s view about the once most-wanted terrorist in the world.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi initially said Imran Khan was “well, uh, again, out of context Out of context He was quoted out of context. And, uh, you know, a particular section of the media played it up”
When journalist Lotfullah Najafizada persisted asking, “Is he [Osama bin Laden] a martyr? You disagree [with Imran Khan]? Osama bin Laden?” Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, “I will let that pass.”
Addressing Pakistan’s parliament, Imran Khan in June 2020 said, “I will never forget how we Pakistanis were embarrassed when the Americans came into Abbottabad and killed Osama Bin Laden, martyred him.”
The speech was in Urdu. Imran Khan had used the word, “shaheed” while describing the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistani city Abbottabad, where he was hiding for several years. Shaheed is an Arabic term used for martyrs of Islam.
Osama bin Laden was being pursued by the US after the 9/11 terror attacks in the US. About 3,000 people had died in the attacks that brought down the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. In May 2011, the US special forces carried a raid at his Abbottabad hideout to kill Osama bin Laden. Pakistan had not been informed about the raid.