Osama Dead: Hizbul Mujahideen Owns Osama Bin Laden Mansion In Abbottabad4 May 2011
The Economic Times
New Delhi: Hizbul Mujahideen, a terror group active in Jammu and Kashmir, owns the mansion that sheltered Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. A Canadian newspaper, which reported the Hizb link to the house, said Pakistan was hushing up the issue of ownership of the place. Quoting an unnamed police source in Pakistan, Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail reported that the mansion where bin Laden lived belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen. 'But the authorities have asked us not to share any information about the exact ownership,' the paper said. Land-registry officials in Abbottabad were summoned to a meeting on Tuesday and urged to keep quiet. 'They are being instructed not to say anything about the land-ownership issue.' American officials have described the owners as 'brothers', and neighbours recalled seeing a pair of men, possibly ethnic Pashtuns from the rugged western frontier, who largely kept to themselves. Their names were reported in the local media as Bada Khan and Chota Khan. A Pakistani official said the mystery surrounding the two men has deepened with the discovery that their national identity cards were fake. Demands grew louder on Tuesday for an investigation that would determine what support bin Laden received inside Pakistan. Hizb, the biggest terror group in J&K, has a large local component of young Kashmiris. It was formed in 1990, at the initiative of the Inter Service Intelligence and the Jamaat-e-Islami by merging nearly a dozen small terrorist organisations of J&K and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. The outfit headed by Syed Salahuddin has several camps across the border in PoK. If the ownership is traced to Hizbul Mujahideen, it would mark an unusual example of co-operation between the militant group and its more extreme cousin, al-Qaeda, the report said. HM has maintained a narrow focus on removing Indian forces from Kashmir, while al-Qaeda pursues global ambitions. 'This is the first time I've heard of links between Hizbul Mujahedeen and Osama, but its members would probably admire him,' Stratfor's South Asia regional director Kamran Bokhari said. Like other groups fighting Indian troops in the borderlands, HM's radical membership has never been rounded up by Pakistani forces, said the report, noting that some analysts say that Islamabad covertly supports the group. Pakistan has denied any collusion with terrorists, saying that its leading intelligence service had been sharing information with US counterparts since 2009 about the compound where bin Laden was found. Still, in the wake of the raid, Islamabad scrambled to ensure that precise ownership of the compound would not become public knowledge, and any link to HM would deepen Pakistan's embarrassment over bin Laden's death.