Tribune Fact Check: No — Imran Khan doesn't think Osama bin Laden is a martyr

The claim is false as PM Imran misspoke, his adviser Shahbaz Gill issued a clarification


Social Desk June 26, 2020
The claim is false as PM Imran misspoke, his adviser Shahbaz Gill issued a clarification.PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

Footage of Prime Minister Imran Khan calling the slain al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden a martyr has gone viral, especially in India where their official propaganda machine has gone into an overdrive to malign Pakistan.

The Express Tribune has analysed the video and previous interviews of Khan and found the premier merely misspoke as has been clarified by his spokesperson.

What he said?

“I will never forget how we Pakistanis were embarrassed when the Americans came into Abbottabad and killed Osama bin Laden, martyred him,” PM Imran said in his speech while recounting the lows of the relationship between Islamabad and Washington.

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The segment of the speech soon went viral in India, which is always on the lookout for an opportunity to malign Pakistan, and was shown as supposed proof that Pakistan supported the terror group.

Clarification

Special assistant to PM on political communication Dr Shahbaz Gill denounced an “unwarranted attempt” to create a controversy.



“Referring to PM’s speech in NA today, it is clarified that PM twice used the word ‘killed’ for Osama bin Laden. An unwarranted attempt is being made at home/abroad with a clear intent to make his remarks controversial unnecessarily,” Gill wrote on his official Twitter handle.



He went on to add that “Islamabad’s commitment against tis unwavering and our track record in eliminating this menace is better than anyone else in the world”.

Sci-tech Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Information Minister Shibli Faraz have also clarified that it was misstep.

PML-N leader Khawaja Asif was among those who objected to the premier’s remark. He described Bin Laden as the “ultimate terrorist”.

“He destroyed my nation, and he (Imran) is calling him a martyr,” Asif said in his reply on the floor of the house.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, whose PPP was in power when Bin Laden was killed, accused the prime minister of appeasing violent extremism.
Premier Imran’s stance on Bin Laden has been consistent and clear as it evident from his previous interviews.

When India’s NDTV had asked him about the death of Bin Laden, he had said, “The way in which he [Osama bin Laden was killed has made him a martyr in the eyes of certain extremist circles.”

The prime minister went on to say that Washington should have taken him into custody and then put him on trial to “demystify” the entire episode.

“Osama should have been dealt with the same way Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and the Nazi leaders were held accountable for their crimes,” he added.

 

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