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Osama probe panel asks Pak govt not to repatriate his family

Islamabad: A Pakistani commission probing Osama bin Laden`s presence in the country has directed the Interior Ministry and ISI to ensure that the slain al-Qaeda chief`s wives and children do not leave the country without its permission.

Two of bin Laden`s wives and at least six of his children were detained by Pakistani security forces from the Abbottabad complex, where a covert US raid killed the world`s most wanted terrorist on May 2.

The family is believed to be in the custody of the ISI.

"The Ministry of Interior and ISI have been directed to ensure that the family of Osama bin Laden is not repatriated from Pakistan without the consent of the commission," said a statement issued after the first meeting of the panel headed by Supreme Court Justice Javed Iqbal.

Sources said this was done as the Commission might want to interview members of bin Laden`s family.

The commission held an in-camera meeting yesterday to frame modalities for its working and announced that it will call members of the civilian, military and political leadership during the course of the inquiry, if needed.

The statement asked the public to provide any information they had and invited individuals to appear before the commission before July 31.

The identity of persons who appear before the panel will be kept secret and they will be provided legal protection, the statement said.

The commission`s first meeting was attended by the three members of the panel ? Abbas Khan, a former provincial police chief, former diplomat Ashraf Jehangir Qazi and Lt Gen (retired) Nadeem Ahmed.

The commission has been asked by the government to ascertain how bin Laden managed to live in Pakistan for such a long time, investigate the US operation that killed him, determine the nature and causes of lapses by authorities and make suitable recommendations.

The next meeting of the Commission will be held on July 11.

The panel`s members agreed not to set a deadline for submitting a report on the inquiry.

They wanted to keep proceedings free of any timeframe to allow them to take as much time as they felt is necessary to complete the probe, media reports said.

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