BY HAMZA AMEER
Islamabad, June 26 (IANS) Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has had a reputation of committing blunders at the global stage. And even after spending almost three years in power as the countrys premier, Khans habit of committing slipups at big stages has not stopped.
In a latest slipup, Khan addressed the National Assembly of Pakistan on Thursday, detailing the performance of his government since it came to office, especially during the coronavirus outbreak.
However, while speaking about the ongoing war on terror, highlighting how Pakistan suffered embarrassment being ally to the United States, Khan did the unexpected slipup, calling global terrorist Osama bin Laden a “Shaheed” (martyr).
Speaking about the May 2, 2011 operation by the US Navy Seals taking out Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad city in the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, Khan referred to Osama bin Laden as a martyr, stating that the country suffered global humiliation and criticism being an ally to the US.
“There was an incident of Osama bin Laden, in which US planes came into Pakistan and killed, martyred Osama bin Laden. And after that incident, the whole world abused and criticised Pakistan. It was astounding to see how their (US) planes came into our country, carried out their operation and even though we were ally to the US, we were criticized,” said Khan during his speech in the Parliament.
“We lost over 70,000 innocent people being US’ ally in war on terror and yet we are always questioned, criticised and embarrassed,” he added.
Khan’s blunder of calling bin Laden a martyr took minutes to trend on social media with widespread denunciation of the premier.
Here are a few reactions:
Syeda Trimzi tweeted, “Pak PM Imran Khan calls Osama bin Laden ‘Shaheed’ in the Pakistan National Assembly. AND NOW INDIA AND REST WORLD IS USING HIS WORDS TO PROMOTE THEIR AGenDa That ‘PAKISTAN Supports TERRORIST’. I am Speechless.”
“Prime Minister Imran Khan says Osama Bin Laden is a shaheed (martyr) and Pakistan should never have taken part in ‘war on terror’,” tweeted Murtaza Ali Shah.
“I hope Imran Khan would’ve chosen his words more carefully & elaborated it better, like he did here. But alas, haters will continue portraying him as an Osama Bin Laden sympathizer.. Shameful moment nontheless. Should issue a clarification again & apologize #PMImranKhan,” tweeted a person from the handle @FitnayFatway.
Khlyk Kohistani tweeted, “PM Taliban Khan is outloud for Osama Bin Laden Titled him as “Shaheed”, He is the same guy who brutally Killed million kf Muslim, Killed, Vandalized Mosques, Girls Education, Imposed His own Shariat, APS attacked. His fathr Musharraf Put country in fire of Terrorism.”
“The United States martyred Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan #TalibanKhan,” tweeted Ahmed khan from the handle @Shaforama.
The opposition parties, who are taking dig at the premier for his blunder, are now also questioning Khan’s slipup.
“This man (Imran Khan) has called Osama bin Laden (OBL) a martyr. Osama bin Laden was a terrorist who brought terrorism into this country. And this man called him a martyr,” said Khawaja Asif, senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
While there can be no justification for such a mistake by the Pakistan premier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was the first to come to Khan’s rescue.
When asked why Khan called Laden a martyr, he said: “Out of all the important topics that Imran Khan spoke, you could only find this?” He also asked to ignore the mistake as a slip of tongue.
While it is still uncertain if Khan’s declaration of calling a global terrorist a martyr is something that he believes or it was a slip of tongue, till that clarification comes through, social media will be fired up and filled with criticism against the Pakistan premier, making #OsamaBinLaden the top trend.