Nearly a year after Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. raid, the members of his family were deported from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia on Thursday, officials told AFP.
The 9/11 mastermind's three widows and their children were detained by Pakistan after he was killed on May 2 of last year in a secret U.S. Navy SEAL operation in the town of Abbottabad, north of Islamabad.
Pakistani authorities have already demolished the Abbottabad house and with the one-year anniversary of bin Laden's death just a few days away, they are keen for the deportation to mark a definitive end to what has been an extremely embarrassing episode, AFP noted.
After ten months in detention, the widows and two of bin Laden's older daughters were sentenced by a Pakistani court to 45 days' detention on charges of illegal entry and residency in the country and ordered to be deportation, the report said.
Around midnight on Thursday night a minibus collected the terror kingpin's family from the Islamabad house where they had served the sentence, which was completed ten days ago.
According to AFP, the family was believed to number 12, including three widows, eight children and one grandchild. An interior ministry spokesman said, however, that orders were passed for the deportation of 14 bin Laden relatives.
They were taken to Islamabad airport to board a special flight to Saudi Arabia. The family members were originally supposed to be deported after completing their sentence last week, but the move dragged on, officially because legal formalities were not complete but amid suggestions the Saudis were reluctant to accept such a notorious group.
A Pakistani security official told AFP that on Thursday “some development happened late in the evening” allowing them to be expelled.
After fleeing Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, bin Laden moved his family around Pakistan before settling in a three-storey house inside a walled compound in Abbottabad in 2005.