A heavy contingent of police escorted a minibus carrying Osama bin Laden’s family to Chaklala Airbase late on Thursday night.
Earlier, a special chartered plane from Saudi Arabia arrived at the airbase with Saudi foreign ministry officials onboard to receive the al Qaeda cheif’s family.
The plane was ready to leave for Jeddah while documentation formalities were being fulfilled by port authorities till the filing of this report. Saudia Arabia was chosen as the country of their choice by the detained family members, the interior ministry said.
Atif Ali Khan, counsel for Bin Laden’s family, said that the interior and foreign ministry had issued a No Objection Certificate (NoC) to the deportees after which the arrangements were finalised. He, however, refused to disclose the agreement under which the family was issued the NoC.
The 12-member family, including Bin Laden’s three widows, eight children and one grandchild were being kept in a guest house in Islamabad which was declared as sub-jail by Islamabad High Court. A statement issued by the ministry of interior said they were deported in pursuance of the court orders.
Two of the wives are Saudi nationals and the third is from Yemen, while Bin Laden’s daughters were born in Pakistan.
Earlier this month, a court sentenced the widows and two of Bin Laden’s older daughters to 45 days’ detention on charges of illegal entry and residency in Pakistan and ordered their deportation as soon as possible. They completed the sentence on Tuesday, counting time already served since they were formally arrested on March 3.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2012.