Pakistan investigators block bin Laden family repatriation
A judicial commission investigating the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan has barred the repatriation of his family members to their native countries, reports said Wednesday.
The Express Tribune newspaper said the order to hold the widows and children was issued at the commission's first meeting Tuesday, DPA reported.
"The Ministry of Interior and the ISI (Inter-services intelligence agency) have been directed to ensure that the family of Osama bin Laden is not repatriated from Pakistan without the consent of the commission," it said.
The al-Qaeda chief was killed by the US Navy Seals in a covert raid May 2 in the garrison town of Abbottabad, 61 kilometres from capital Islamabad, where he reportedly had lived for five years.
The widows, two Saudis and one Yemeni, and several children were captured by Pakistani officers after the US commandos had left the compound with his body.
The government set up a five-member panel headed by a Supreme Court judge to investigate the intelligence failure to track him down.
Some reports suggested that Amal al-Sadeh, the youngest of the three widows and a Yemeni national, might be sent back.
Pakistani Deputy Ambassador to Yemen, Diyar Khan, said after the Abbottababd incident that the family members would be sent back to their home countries when initial inquiries were completed.
Amal, 29, married in 2000 when she was 18 as his fifth wife and brought to Kandahar to join him. The two Saudi wives have been identified as Umm-e-Hamza and Umm-e-Khalid.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik reportedly discussed the issue of their repatriation with the Saudi officials during his visit to Riyadh after the killing of bin Laden.