Sunday Jun 27, 2021
It was a "slip of the tongue" when Prime Minister Imran Khan called slain al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden a martyr, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said.
Chaudhry, speaking to anchor Saleem Safi on Geo News show "Jirga", aired on Sunday, nodded when he was asked whether Pakistan considers Osama Bin Laden a terrorist and the al-Qaeda as a terrorist outfit.
“Pakistan has voted in the UN on the War on Terror [against militants], we are a voter on a [UN] list that declared Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda terrorists," he said.
"Pakistan has sacrificed the most in the war against terrorism,” Chaudhry added.
Last June, during an address to the National Assembly, the prime minister had recalled how the Americans had conducted an operation in Abbottabad and "killed Osama Bin Laden — martyred him".
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, most recently, in an interview with TOLO News journalist Lotfullah Najafizada, was asked to comment on the prime minister's remarks in parliament.
He said that the remarks were taken "out of context".
"He [PM Imran Khan] was quoted out of context. And, uh, you know, a particular section of the media played it up," he added.
"Is he a martyr? You disagree? Osama bin Laden?" asked Najafizada.
"I will let that pass," responded Qureshi, after a brief pause.
When asked to comment on why the foreign minister hesitated in answering a question on the premier's statement on bin Laden, the information minister said Qureshi may have wanted to put the issue behind him and move forward.
The minister also spoke about Pakistan's current political milieu and said that it is necessary to "get rid of the Zardari and Sharif families to take Pakistan forward".
"The PPP and the Muslim League should be strong; the control of Zardari and the Sharif family must be removed from these parties," he said.
Fawad further said that the news about Asif Ali Zardari's "reconciliation with the establishment is nothing but a misunderstanding".
"The Zardari and Sharif families have reduced both major political parties to mere district parties," he added.