In an interview with a private television channel telecast on Thursday, Zikrian Assada, a Yemeni national and brother-in-law of Bin Laden, quoted his sister as describing how the Al Qaeda chief was killed during an operation on May 2 last year by US commandos in Abbottabad.
During the interview at the Yemeni Embassy, Mr Assada said that his sister, who was with Bin Laden at the time of the US attack, fell unconscious after receiving a bullet in her leg. As a result, she didn’t know what happened next.
Mr Assada said that Bin Laden married his sister in 1999 and they had five children who were present at the Abbottabad compound at the time of the US operation.
Meanwhile, the question about Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad was ignored by Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, the head of the commission investigating the US commando operation, during his first press conference on the issue, held on Dec 8.
“This is the main question on which the whole inquiry is based and therefore it will be answered only in the inquiry report,” he had remarked.
On Thursday, Justice (retd) Iqbal said the commission had called Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Chief of Air Staff Rao Qamar Suleman for recording their statements for completion of the report by the middle of this month. “We have completed all interviews but statements of the interior minister and the air chief are required in order to complete the report,” he told Dawn.
He said the report would be handed over to the government by the middle of the month but it would be the sole prerogative of the government to make it public or not.
All eyes are on the commission because people want to know what actually happened during the US operation and that whether the Pakistani government and its military establishment had prior information about the attack or not.
Responding to a question about the statement of Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK Wajid Shamsul Hassan, he said the commission had received his two-page statement and was reviewing it.
He said Mr Hassan had written a letter to the commission and sent a medical certificate regretting that his health did not allow him to travel to Pakistan.