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Will Demolition Erase Bin Laden Ideology?

Published: 28/02/2012 05:20:16 PM GMT
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ISLAMABAD - Analysts have cast doubts on the effectiveness of Pakistan's demolition of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's compound in erasing his militant ideology. Ideologies cannot be erased or developed on the basis of b (more)

ISLAMABAD - Analysts have cast doubts on the effectiveness of Pakistan's demolition of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's compound in erasing his militant ideology.

"Ideologies cannot be erased or developed on the basis of buildings or places," Shamim-ur-Rehman, a Karachi-based partially, told on Tuesday, February 28.

"They depend upon beliefs and circumstances.

"Until unless, the circumstances are there, an ideology does not need the sinews of any building or place to flourish."

Pakistani authorities completed the demolition of bin Laden's tall-walled compound in the garrison city of Abbotabad on Sunday.

During the demolition, security forces cordoned off the compound and restricted nearby residents' movements.

A government official told that the demolition was ordered after sensing a great domestic and foreign media interest in the building as the first anniversary of bin Laden's death approaches.

Bin Laden, whose Al-Qaeda group claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks on the United States, was killed in the house on May 2, 2011 by US commandos in a daring night raid that left the Pakistani military angry it had not been consulted.

While much of the world cheered the death, Pakistan fumed over what it called a violation of its sovereignty.

Pakistani authorities never allowed journalists to visit bin Laden's compound despite repeated requests.

Several foreigners were briefly detained for trying to see the building, including the Danish ambassador and his wife.

"If women and children are bombed, their houses are razed, Their men are sent behind the bars for years and years without any trial, and the so-called champions of human rights dub the victims as terrorists, then who needs bin Laden or his compound to flourish his ideology," Shamim asked.


Analysts opine that the demolition aimed to prevent turning bin Laden's house into an aspiration for others.

"This is very much similar to US action i.e. . . throwing Osama bin Laden's body into the sea as in case of his burial on ground, his grave might have become a source of inspiration for Muslim youths," Wussatullah Khan, a Karachi-based political analyst, told

US troops buried bin Laden's body in the sea to avoid turning his burial ground into a shrine.

The move has sparked uproar in the Muslim world as the Islamic teachings dictate that the highest honor to be bestowed on the dead is giving the deceased a swift burial, preferably in the same day.

Sea burials can be allowed but only in special cases where the death occurred aboard a ship and if they are far off the coast.

"There is a single theme behind throwing bin Laden's body into sea, and flattening his compound that the people should not think about him any more," Khan said.

"But those who harbor this thinking forget that whether there would be a new building on this place, or a farmer would be cultivating here, there will no change in address. People cannot forget the address."

The analyst cited historical facts to prove his point, referring to the demolition of the place where Pakistan's first elected prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged in 1979 by then military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq.

"Have people forgotten what happened on April 4 (the day he was hanged)?" he asked.

"History cannot be changed by demolishing buildings or throwing bodies into sea. This could be the thinking of an ostrich but not the statesmen."

Shamim shares a similar opinion.

"Flattening of his compound has a symbolic value," he told

The analyst cites two reasons for the demolition of bin Laden's compound.

"First, the government may want to blow away the bitter memories regarding its incompetence, and second, the compound might have been used by Osama's supporters as a source of inspiration or a place of worship," he said, referring to some incidents whereby locals gave the status of spiritual leaders to Al-Qaeda militants killed in clashes with Pakistani and US forces on borders with Afghanistan.

Sigh of Relief

But residents gave a sigh of relief over the demolition of bin Laden's house.

"Not even a single day, we felt ourselves comfortable after the US operation," Mohammad Tahir, a resident of Bilal Town, where the compound is located, told

"Our lives have become miserable in the name of security checks as a large number of personnel were deputed in and around the area to protect the compound of local and foreign visitors.

"We were not even able to roam freely within our own locality (Bilal town).

"I hope we would have a peaceful life now," an apparently infuriated Tahir said.

The security forces were not the only headache for locals, but also the press.

"If we get rid of security checks, then the media personnel appear with their cameras and boring faces," Mohammad Deen told in a lighter vein.

"We have had enough of media interviews. Everyday, media comes up with new stories, which are totally fake and fabricated.

"And if I truly tell you, I still do not know whether bin Laden was living here or not. We are compelled to believe what US or Pakistani government says. But here, you will not find a single person who could confirm this," he said."What I know is that we had had no problems with the inmates of this compound. They never bothered us."

Reproduced with permission from