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LinkAsia | Jun 8
Shakeel Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden's compound, has been sentenced to 33 years in prison for "maintaining ...
Over in Pakistan, Osama bin Laden lives on; or at least on the internet. The founder of Al-Qaeda was resurrected on Pakistani social media one year after he was assassinated by the US. Our contributor in Islamabad, Wajahat Khan, tells us what people are saying about bin Laden, one year on.
The tweeps were calling it the one-year itch. The biggest embarrassment, perhaps in history, for high-browed social media users, as well as the general public, came back to haunt them in a big way on the first anniversary of the Osama bin Laden killing. It was quite the digital show.
Twitter feeds were short-circuited with blogs and articles re-tweeted by skeptical Pakistanis.
Disinformation. No accountability for negligence of complicity by Pakistani authorities, said one.
Some revisited conspiracy theories. This post stated an Osama look-alike was picked up, brought to Abbottabad and killed.
Another said a clone was killed.
While the debate on whether it was really bin Laden or not continued, the question of bin Laden's place in Pakistan and the Muslim world had already started. The thread mixed terror with the country's favorite pastime: cricket. It followed an article about how a popular political party, led by former cricket star Imran Khan, made a comment at a rally proclaiming bin Laden as "a martyr of Islam." The article was widely Facebook shared and re-tweeted.
Overall, the mood on social media was somber. Bin Laden as martyr seemed to have been too much. For soon after they published references condoning his so-called martyrdom, the political party in question--Imran Khan's PTI, of course--removed those citations from their official website, as well as their Twitter feeds.
However, a cursory look at Pakistani social media clearly indicates that most Pakistani users were very anxious and even humiliated one year after the events on May 2nd, 2011 in their own city in Abbotabad. Also, very clearly, they still feel a sense of humiliation and deprivation when it comes to their own country's sovereignty being breached. From Islamabad, for LinkAsia, this is Wajahat Khan.
To conduct the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound, a scale model was created so that officials could visualize what they were seeing on satellite photos. Every shrub, every piece of ivy on the walls of the compound are on that model, which is now on display at the Pentagon.