Abbottabad: The US killing of Osama bin
Laden a few streets away may have flung Pakistan into crisis,
but the al-Qaeda chief's neighbours are determined nothing
should spoil their wedding.
"Osama is not my problem. I don't care if he died
here. I can't postpone my wedding because of his death," said
Suhail Nasir, 38, dressed up to the nines and getting married
for the first time.
Pakistanis have thrown their arms up in horror at the
perceived impunity of the American raid, furiously asking
whether their military was too incompetent to know bin Laden
was in town or, even worse, conspired to protect him.
The debacle has been one of the worst embarrassments
ever to hit Pakistan's powerful military establishment, and
the civilian leadership has been left reeling, forced on
Monday to explain itself in parliament.
But Nasir and his family have festooned their home
with hundreds of coloured lights and will not let the small
matter of the world's most-wanted terrorist being caught down
the road spoil their fun.
Pakistani wedding festivities last five days and the
Nasir family bash began with gusto on Wednesday while the
world's media was still camped on their doorstep and security
forces struggled to impose order in the neighbourhood.
The Nasir family's indifference is widely reflected
across Pakistan. The death of bin Laden has led to a low-key
reaction in the country, where al-Qaeda enjoys relatively
little support despite demands from the terror network for
Muslims to rise up against the United States.
Neighbours who lived unwittingly alongside bin Laden
for up to five years still struggle to believe the official
version of events and local conspiracy theories of American
machinations have festered.
"We don't believe that Osama was here. Do you believe
this drama?" said Asim Shah, a close friend of Nasir who flew
in from Turkey for the wedding.
"This was just a fake drama," said Rizwan Khan,
another friend. "The Americans want to pull their troops out
of Afghanistan and they have successfully staged all this
drama," he added.
The groom set off in a procession of dozens of
vehicles decorated with flowers to the nearby town of Taxila
to fetch his new bride before the celebrations got under way
with dancing, drums and singing.
"We just came back from Taxila and brought the bride.
We are enjoying our wedding. This is our life. We're doing
what everybody does at weddings -- music, dancing and
singing," said Nasir, surrounded by his friends.
First Published: Monday, May 09, 2011, 22:40