A Pakistani inquiry has ruled that the family of Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader killed in a U.S. Navy SEAL raid, cannot leave the country without its consent.
Sixteen people, including three of bin Laden's wives — one from Yemen and two from Saudi Arabia — and several children have been in Pakistani custody since the May 2 raid, the Guardian reports.
Pakistani officials had indicated in recent days that the youngest wife could soon be sent back to Yemen.
However, a four-member commission investigating the nighttime raid on bin Laden's Abbottabad compound, said late Tuesday that it had told the interior ministry and Inter-Services Intelligence agency to hold bin Laden's family members.
According to the AP, "the order was directed in part at Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency, which tends to operate beyond civilian control — a sign that the commission was taking advantage of the unusual public pressure on the security establishment since the raid to push its investigation forward."
Voice of America writes:
Pakistan has a history of probes and inquiries that have been met with interference from the powerful military and intelligence service.
"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," the government-appointed commission said in a statement issued late Tuesday after its first meeting.
The commission, headed by a Supreme Court judge, is investigating how bin Laden was able to hide out in Pakistan for several years without being detected. The panel has said it will carry out a thorough investigation of the U.S. military operation that killed the Al Qaeda leader, widely viewed as a violation of the country's sovereignty.
That it is willing to demand the cooperation of the spy agencies is, according to the AP, "a sign that the commission was taking advantage of the unusual public pressure on the security establishment since the raid to push its investigation forward."