Islamabad: Saudi Arabia has flatly refused to accept the three widows and nine children of slain al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, who are currently in protective custody in Islamabad.
Bin Laden, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed on May 02 in a top-secret US unilateral military operation involving a small team of American Special Forces in Pakistan’s Abbottabad city.
His family was detained by Pakistani authorities for questioning, and last week, US intelligence officers reportedly interrogated the three women under the supervision of Pakistan’s intelligence service.
During his recent visit to Riyadh, Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik had formally requested the Saudi authorities to accept bin Laden’s family, The Express Tribune quoted a highly placed source, as saying.
The Saudis, however, said that bin Laden had been stripped of Saudi citizenship more than 15 years ago.
Bin Laden was stripped of his Saudi citizenship in 1994 after he criticised the royal family’s reliance on US troops to protect it after the Iraqi invasion of neighbouring Kuwait.
The Pakistani request came after the Yemeni government refused to accept Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah- one of the three widows of bin Laden- and her five children as its citizens.
Twenty-nine-year-old Amal, who is from Yemen, is the youngest widow of bin Laden, who had married her in 2000.
First Published: Thursday, May 19, 2011, 16:52