No more travel restriction on Laden family

Islamabad: Travel restrictions on Osama bin Laden`s family members have been directed to be lifted by a Pakistani judicial commission probing the killing of the al-Qaeda chief, a move that may allow them to leave the country.

The commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Javed Iqbal yesterday said it had completed questioning them and withdrew its earlier order barring the widows and children of bin Laden from leaving Pakistan. Bin Laden`s widows, two Saudis and a Yemeni and about 10 of his children have been in the custody of Pakistani security agencies since US Navy SEALs killed the al-Qaeda leader in Abbottabad on May 2.

The panel had interviewed bin Laden`s three widows and two daughters for the first time on Tuesday. The wives and children were the sole eyewitnesses to the last moments of the al-Qaeda chief before he was killed.

"The commission has taken statements and investigated the wives and daughters of Osama bin Laden. They are no more required to the commission. Consequently, restraining order may be treated as withdrawn to the extent of bin Laden`s family," a statement said yesterday.

The panel conducted an "exhaustive interview" of ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha "to know his perspective leading to Abbottabad incident", the statement said. The questioning of senior military officials, including those from the powerful ISI, by a civilian commission is extremely rare in Pakistan. The government has directed the commission to probe how bin Laden`s presence in Pakistan went undetected for almost five years, the circumstances of the US raid and any security lapses that may have occurred on May 2, and to make recommendations based on its findings.