Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan stirred a hornet's nest after he called the slain global terrorist Osama Bin Laden a martyr. The statement of Khan, a former cricketer turned politician, came during his speech in the National Assembly on Thursday.
Bin Laden, who masterminded the 9/11 attacks on the US, was killed by the US Navy Seals during a secret mission on May 2, 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Khan's remarks come hours after Pakistan was placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) "Grey List" till October. Pakistan, which is yet to complete 13 out of 27 items suggested in its FATF Action Plan to tackle money laundering and terrorist activities in the country, was accused of providing safe haven for certain regionally-focused terrorist groups in a report by US recently.
Khan Says Laden's Death Left Pakistan Embarrassed
Khan's latest speech was an attempt to highlight the souring relations with the US. Addressing the National Assembly, Khan said Pakistan had to face a lot of humiliation despite supporting Washington in the "war on terror" and was then blamed for the US' failures in Afghanistan, Dawn reported.
"The Americans came to Abbottabad and killed, martyred Osama bin Laden. When happened after that? The entire world cursed at us and spoke ill of us," said Khan, highlighting the incident that left the nation "embarrassed".
"We helped the Americans in 'war on terror' but the embarrassment we had to face for their allegations of Pakistan being a safe haven for terrorists is very terrible. Our ally is secretly coming into our country and killing a terrorist and we don't even have an idea," he added.
It is not the first time that the former cricketer has shown empathy for the slain al-Qaeda leader. In September last year, during his US tour, Khan said Pakistan had informed the American security agencies about the presence of bin Laden in Abbottabad. He has said that the US should not have undertaken a "covert" operation to kill bin Laden keeping Pakistan completely in the dark, reported the New Indian Express.
Imran Khan Slammed For Terming Bin Laden a Martyr
Soon after a clip of Khan's speech calling bin Laden a martyr went viral on social media, the spokesperson for Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, issued a statement calling the Pakistani prime minister a national "security threat".
"Today Imran Khan has proven himself to be 'Taliban Khan' in parliament. The Imran Khan-Taliban nexus was evident from the meetings between the two. This is the same person who had called for the Taliban to open their offices in Pakistan," Khokhar was quoted as saying by Dawn.
Twitter too was left enraged by the Khan's remarks on the global terrorist. "Pfft...Imran Khan calls Osama Bin Laden a "shaheed" translating to martyr. Such a shame. What a disgrace," wrote one user.
"Imran Khan calls osama bin laden as MARTYR. Pak was in grey list. U gave it bunch of tasks to do else they'll b blacklisted. They didn't do. U gave several extensions. Still they didn't. U continued with Grey list. So what exactly did u accomplish?" said another.