Monday, May 2, 2011
Local Pakistanis reacted to news of Osama bin Laden’s death with both elation and shock.
“I am ecstatic,” said Rashida Taqi of Rancho Bernardo. “Who wouldn’t be? All human beings were affected by what he did. He brought down Islam. No faith teaches you terror.”
Many San Diego Pakistanis were astonished that bin Laden had lived so close to Pakistan’s seat of power. Bin Laden was found in a compound in Abbottabad about 30 miles north of the Pakistani capital Islamabad. This despite the fact that Pakistani leaders over the years denied the Al Qaeda leader was in Pakistan. At one point, former President Musharraf said bin Laden was dead.
“It should be an embarrassment to the Pakistani government” said retired engineer Salman Ahmad.
Ahmad says Abbottabad, where bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs, is a scenic and affluent town and the home to several retired military and intelligence officers.
“It is very green there and very pleasant,” Ahmad said. “It is basically a resort town.”
Ahmad and other San Diego Pakistanis expressed worry about the potential for violence in their homeland. Many Pakistanis openly condemned bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. But there are also pockets of support for him among Pakistanis.
“There will be protests,” Ahmad said. “There may be more violence.”