Osama's family to leave Pakistan tonight

Islamabad (Dawn/ANN) - Osama bin Laden's family is expected to be deported from Pakistan on Thursday, 11 months after the US raid that killed the al Qaeda chief in Abbottabad, official sources told DawnNews.

A special chartered plane has already arrived in the capital to take 12 family members of the al Qaeda chief anytime tonight.

According to sources, the National Crisis Management Cell has completed the documentation process necessary for the deportation. While officials of the Saudi embassy are also present at the Islamabad Airport.

Osama bin Laden moved to Pakistan in 2002, a few months after US started large-scale air strikes on Afghanistan, particularly in the Tora Bora region, during its anti-Taliban war which it launched in 2001 in the wake of 9/11 attacks.

His three wives and nine children were detained by Pakistani security forces after a secret US special forces raid killed bin Laden in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad in May last year.

Earlier this month a Pakistani court sentenced the women to 45 days in prison for illegally staying in the country. It ordered their deportation after the prison term which began on March 3 when they were formally arrested.

The family was being held at a house in Islamabad.

Analysts had said Pakistan may have preferred a lengthy prison sentence for the family to prevent them from discussing details of their time in the country.

Once outside Pakistan, bin Laden's relatives could reveal details about how the world's most wanted man was able to hide in a US war ally for years, possibly assisted by elements of the country's powerful military and spy agency.

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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