The post first appeared on Global Voices (found here!) on May 03, 2011 and is a part of its special coverage, The Death of Osama Bin Laden. It is also available in 繁體中文, Français, Italiano, Español, and 简体中文.
Osama Bin Laden, the iconic figure of religious extremism-based terrorism, is dead – finally! Operation Geronimo ended his life yesterday, in an event which will surely leave its marks on history of the world, and politics, in general. The news literally gripped the world media so much that it was hard to find other news being reported on television channels.
In the wake of Bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan, Pakistan’s image as a haven for terrorists has, perhaps, been reinforced. However, the liberal class of urban Pakistanis have always welcomed any move to eradicate extremist elements from the country. And the province of Sindh, which has been home to great Sufis who devoted their lives in spreading peace and religious coexistence, has always repelled extremism from its grounds. That is why, Sindh has always had a distinct identity as compared to other units of Pakistan, as has been observed by William Dalrymple who visited Pakistan earlier.
Abbottabad is a city in the Hazara region (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) which attracts tourists every year with its scenic mountains and valleys. In the recent years of religious extremism resulting in terrorist activities, Abbotabad has also been one of the very few peaceful cities of province.
Osama’s presence, and now death, in the city has taken people aback; here is how a senior journalist and policy advisor, @razarumi, reacted to it:
I still cant believe that #OBL was in Abbottabad 4 yrs-a small, sleepy town 1 has visited sevrl times 4 recreation.#Pakistan needs a clean-up
As always, social media including Facebook, Twitter and blogs, have been publishing stories about Bin Laden’s death with varied perspectives: the dominant sentiment is one of satisfaction – and happiness – on the death of the embodiment of global terrorism.
Damned when he was alive, damned now that he is dead. Not really looking forward to the backlash & the city bombings. #OsamabinLaden
My own Facebook status reads in Sindhi:
All those peace- and humanity-loving, and the supporters of religious coexistence, congratulations on the death of the icon of the terrorism, Osama bin Laden. Rest in Hell, Osama!
During the last decade, religious extremism could not penetrate in the mostly underdeveloped province of Sindh. This has always been attributed to the teachings and preaching of Sufi saints of the land especially, Shah Abdul Latif, Sachal Sarmast, Sami, Shah Inayat and others who not only strongly supported religious coexistence, but also condemned the way a typical Mullah would interpret Islam.
That is the reason why the Sindhis have always welcomed the United States of America and its war on terror; the reaction to Osama’s death is also not different. They have acclaimed and, in fact, congratulated each other on the death of the terrorist on Twitter and Facebook.
The following update from Sindhi resident Xafar’s profile would support the aforementioned:
W[h]ether it’s Bin Qasim who was Osama’s spiritual father or Tughluq; he tried to justify his acts in the name of Islam or humanity, if his hands are dirtied in the blood of the innocent people, his logical end could only be the same as that of Saddam Hossein. I feel happy to see the secular nationalists congratulating each other and the supporters of the terrorists being sad on this news. [Translated from Sindhi]
Akhtar Shaikh wrote on his wall:
Congratulations to all the peace-loving [people on earth] and the Sindhi nation… Now, this is crystal clear before the world that this attitude of Punjabis (Read: Pakistani Establishment) has become a great danger for Sindh and the rest of the world.
Let’s come out in the streets and participate in this global celebration as this is a great victory over fundamentalism. [Translated from Sindhi]
Another open comment came from Sikanderhayat Hayat:
thank you America and president obama you killed (the) enemy of mankind
Alqaeda was never a one man army to begin with claiming that US will wrap up the war now is really foolish.
A while before that I tweeted:
Death of #osama may be a milestone, but not the destination; extremist mentality has to be gunned down to make peace, and justice #pakistan
However, does this really means that the reason for the US to stay in Pakistan is no more? Will America officially leave the Afghan-Pakistani territories? This is the question that has been rotating around social media.
Famous singer, Salman Ahmed (@sufisal) asks:
Will Pakistan finally breathe a sigh of peace after Osama’s death? 7,873 innocent Pakistanis have died as a result of terrorism
@mehreenkasana also poses the same question to Barack Obama, the president of the United States:
Will this stop the US regime from drone attacking civilians in tribal areas, Mr. @BarackObama? Justice has been served, after all.
And @SadamMahessar tweets:
America, now that you have served your purpose! Please get out of of my country and let us live in Peace and watch some Cricket here!!
As final words, where Pakistan will have the direct impact of death of Bin Laden in its borders, over the seas in the United States of America, President Obama has made his position strong by this act. Against or for, we all are here to face the music of his death; and, satirically, Osama goes on to his promised ‘virgins’ in heaven. In @BinaShah’s words:
72 virgins preparing for OBL’s imminent arrival with lots of ice and tylenol.