Report By: Nina Rai
Islamabad, 10 March, 2012
There has been a swift response by Taliban to the announcement made by Pak Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Thursday, about charging the three widows of Osama Bin Laden for illegally entering and staying in Pakistan.
The militant Taliban group there has now warned of reprisal attacks unless the three ladies are released from Pakistan custody, without delay. The spokesperson for the terrorist group conveyed the chilling message that the group will not hesitate in attacking government, police and military officials in Pakistan, if their demand is not met.
Ehsanullah Ehsan of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) told Reuters "If the family ofis not released as soon as possible, we will attack the judges, the lawyers and the security officials involved in their trial." Ehsan then goes on to add that the Taliban will also be carrying out “suicide bombings against security forces and the government” all over Pakistan.
While Minister Malik had not announced which court will be handling this sensitive case but it’s clear that the three ladies will now be standing trial. This is really surprising considering the fact that earlier Pakistan had announced their repatriation to their respective countries.
It is also not clear, if and when this case of illegal entry and stay goes for trial and the trio is found guilty, what kind of punishment they will eventually face. According to Pak foreign ministry two of Osama Bin Laden’s wives are Saudi nationals, while one is from Yemen.
Legal luminaries, however opine that if the charges made against the family are proved, the three ladies will be facing at-least five years behind bars, which looks highly unlikely considering the Taliban threat now.
As has been widely reported, it was in May of 2011 that Osama Bin Laden was shot dead by US Navy Seals in a secret raid on the Abbottabad compound in Pakistan, where the Al Qaeda head was hiding.
Later, Osama Bin Laden’s body was airlifted by the American Special Forces and allegedly given a sea burial. However, after the successful raid Pakistani authorities took into custody 16 persons including Bin Laden’s three wives and an unspecified number of children.
A government commission had even been set-up to probe the bin Laden raid and it had even concluded its inquiry. In the course of the enquiry the commission questioned the family members to find out how the Al Qaeda head managed to stay in Abbotabad for five long years without being detected. And as stated above, later Pakistan had even announced the repatriation of the ladies and the children.
After last year’s killing of bin Laden, it was apparent that his group the Taliban would retaliate. And that is what happened with the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) swearing revenge. It conducted several eyeball grabbing attacks all over Pakistan resulting in heavy casualties.
The TTP set up in 2007, basically comprises of a bunch of various Pakistani militant groups functioning from Pakistan's unwieldy northwestern tribal belt, on the soft border with Afghanistan. This is not the first time that the group has been threatening action against Pakistan, but now it remains to be seen what Pakistan Governments reaction will be to this latest threat of retaliation.