Washington DC, 29 June.

South Asians Against Terrorism and for Human Rights (SAATH), a grouping of pro-democracy Pakistani intellectuals and activists, has expressed dismay and alarm, at the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, referring to the death of the International Terrorist Osama bin Laden at the hands of United States Navy SEALS on May 2nd, 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan, as his ‘Martyrdom’.

A statement by SAATH said, “What makes this doubly disgusting is that Imran Khan made this claim on the floor of Pakistan’s National Assembly on June 25th, 2020. For, another Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yusaf Raza Gillani, had in selfsame National Assembly on May 9, 2011, denounced Bin Laden as a terrorist and had welcomed his elimination.”

According to the SAATH statement “It should be noted that in addition to the havoc wreaked on 9/11, and later upon the wider World, Bin Laden was directly responsible for the deaths and maiming of tens of thousands of Pakistanis and Afghans during the years he was plotting his terrible schemes whilst remaining hidden in Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf probably known to certain people in Pakistan’s Intelligence Services.”

Further, as the SAATH statement noted, “Many people explain his classification of Osama as a ‘Martyr’ to Imran Khan’s known proclivity to be appreciative of extremist, Jihadist thought, therefore coming to be known by the nickname ‘Taliban Khan’ some years ago, a nickname which has stuck.”

The SAATH statement asserted, “However, there could be a deeper, even more sinister reason: that of putting the West, specially the United States on notice, now that the endgame in Afghanistan is in sight, and the state of the Pakistan economy is in shambles. In other words this might well be a ploy to inveigle more money out of Pakistan’s traditional donors.”