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Cricket legend turned Pakistan PM Imran Khan calls Osama bin Laden a ‘martyr’ in parliament sparking fury

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PAKISTAN prime minister Imran Khan has provoked outrage after referring to Osama bin Laden as a “martyr”.

In an address to the country’s parliament, the former cricketer criticised Washington for carrying out the raid that killed the al-Qaeda leader without informing the Pakistan government.

Reuters

Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan referred to Osama bin Laden as a ‘martyr’[/caption]

AP:Associated Press

Bin Laden was the leader of al-Qaeda and responsible for the 9/11 attacks[/caption]

AP:Associated Press

A November 2011 photo showing the compound where Bin Laden was found and killed six months before[/caption]

Bin Laden, who headed the terror group at the time of the 9/11 attacks, was killed in a raid on a compound in the city of Abottabad, northern Pakistan in May 2011.

Analysts have long argued that Bin Laden could not have been in the town without the knowledge of at least some figures within Pakistan’s security services and government.

Previous raids on locations where he was thought to be hiding out had also failed after suspected tip-offs, and a decision was taken by the Obama administration not to inform the Pakistan authorities ahead of the operation.

In a speech purportedly intended to lay out his government’s budget plans, Khan said: “We sided with the US in the war on terror but they came here and killed him, martyred him.

“[They] used abusive language against us [and] did not inform us [of the raid], despite the fact that we lost 70,000 people in the war on terror,” Khan said.

As in the Christian world, the word “martyr” is often used in Islam to describe a person who died for their religious beliefs.

The word is frequently used as a term of honour by terrorist groups like al-Qaeda for members killed in battles, airstrikes, or suicide bombings.

Khan’s use of the word drew sharp criticism from opposition leaders in Pakistan.

Khwaja Mohammed Asif, a member of the National Assembly and Assembly Leader for opposition party The Pakistan Muslim League, said: “[Bin Laden] ruined my country but [Khan] is calling him a martyr.”

Al-Qaeda is believed to be responsible for numerous attacks and attempted attacks inside Pakistan.


Khan also told the parliament that the US had sought to use Pakistan as a scapegoat for their failure to defeat the Taliban and bring stability to neighbouring Afghanistan.

US officials have frequently accused Pakistan of supporting the Afghan Taliban so as to maintain influence in Afghanistan as part of a powerplay against India.

Handout – Getty

President Obama and his team watch the 2011 raid unfold from Washington[/caption]

AFP

Khan made the comments during a budget speech to Pakistan’s National Assembly[/caption]

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