Faiysal AliKhan: Relief, Shock Mark Pakistani Reaction to Bin Laden News

Asia Society Associate Fellow Faiysal AliKhan speaking from Islamabad via Skype on May 6, 2011 (video below).

For a week now headlines have been full of official American and Pakistani reactions to the news of Osama bin Laden's death, and to the fact that the world's most wanted terrorist was apparently hiding out in Pakistan for a period of several years.

But what about ordinary Pakistanis — how did they feel upon hearing US forces had killed bin Laden? To get an answer, we contacted Asia Society Associate Fellow Faiysal AliKhan, who chairs Pakistan's Commission on Customs and Trade Regulation and is also the founder of FIDA, an NGO based in Dera Ismail Khan, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, that focuses on rural development and sustainable livelihoods.   

Speaking from Islamabad just before the weekend, AliKhan testifies to both "shock" and a "huge sense of relief" among Pakistanis at bin Laden's death — coupled with a fear of reprisals by extremists who might be seeking to avenge the al Qaeda founder. Alluding to a suicide bombing directly across the street from where he lives, AliKhan notes, "no place [has] really been safe."

Later in the interview, AliKhan describes the sense of "betrayal" ordinary citizens are likely to feel if it is proven that elements within Pakistan's military-security apparatus knowingly harbored Osama bin Laden.

See part two of our interview here

Watch Faiysal AliKhan (4 min., 55 sec.)

About the Author

Profile picture for user Jeff Tompkins
Jeff Tompkins is New York Content Manager at Asia Society.