Pak: Travel restrictions on Osama family lifted

The panel had interviewed bin Laden`s three widows and two daughters for the first time on Tuesday.

Last Updated: Oct 07, 2011, 00:22 AM IST

Islamabad: The Pakistani judicial commission
investigating the killing of Osama bin Laden on Thursday lifted
travel restriction on al-Qaeda leader`s family and directed
authorities to register a case of "high treason" against a
doctor charged of helping the CIA.

The commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Javed
Iqbal withdrew its earlier order barring the widows and
children of bin Laden from leaving Pakistan, saying it had
completed questioning them.

The panel had interviewed bin Laden`s three widows and
two daughters for the first time on Tuesday.

"The commission has taken statements and investigated the
wives and daughters of Osama bin Laden. They are no more
required to the commission. Consequently, restraining
order...may be treated as withdrawn to the extent of (bin
Laden`s) family," the statement said.

The commission also directed the authorities to register
a case of "high treason" against government doctor Shakeel
Afridi detained on charges of working for the CIA to obtain
DNA samples of people living in the Al Qaeda leader`s
Abbottabad compound.

Afridi was detained shortly after the covert US military
raid that killed bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2.

"In view of the record and evidence placed before the
commission in relation to Dr Shakeel Afridi, the commission is
of the view that prima facie, a case of conspiracy against the
State of Pakistan and high treason is made out against him,"
said a statement issued by the panel.

"Therefore, a case under relevant law should be
registered against Dr Shakeel Afridi and he should be
proceeded in accordance with law," the statement said.
Under Pakistani laws, a person convicted of high treason
can be awarded a death penalty.

Media reports have said Afridi conducted a free
vaccination campaign in bin Laden`s neighbourhood early this
year in a bid to obtain DNA samples of residents of the
compound after the CIA had zeroed in on it.

The commission further decided that bin laden`s
"compound/house at Abbottabad should be handed over to civil
administration of Abbottabad for disposal in accordance
with relevant law."

The panel conducted an "exhaustive interview" of
Inter-Services Intelligence agency chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja
Pasha "to know his perspective leading to Abbottabad
incident", the statement said.

The commission had also interviewed Pasha regarding the
US raid against bin Laden yesterday.

The panel has interviewed several senior military
officials in the past but this was the first time that the ISI
chief appeared before it.

The questioning of senior military officials, including
those from the powerful ISI, by a civilian commission is
extremely rare in Pakistan.

Bin Laden`s widows, two Saudis and a Yemeni and about 10
of his children have been in the custody of Pakistani security
agencies since US special forces killed the Al Qaeda leader.
The commission had earlier barred bin Laden`s widows,
children and Afridi from leaving Pakistan.

The government has directed the commission to probe how
bin Laden`s presence in Pakistan went undetected for almost
five years, the circumstances of the US raid and any security
lapses that may have occurred on May 2, and to make
recommendations based on its findings.