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The Guardian: Osama bin Laden death: No mourning or celebration in Pakistan

Author: Mohammed Hanif
May 4, 2011


Mohammed Hanif writes that "Pakistan's reaction to the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden muted by concerns over jobs and security."

There were no celebrations. And there was no mourning. It didn't occur to anyone to make an Obama effigy; no American flags were burnt. There were no heated debates about whether Osama was a martyr or not. The buses that were set ablaze in Karachi had nothing to do with the high drama in Abbotabad. The crowd in front of Karachi Press Club was a group of private bank employees wanting their jobs back. The little group at the gates of the electricity company offices was demanding nothing more than some good, clean electricity.

A hunger strike camp with young men's posters was part of a campaign to recover young men who have nothing at to do with al-Qaida.

In fact, the reaction to the killing of Bin Laden was so subdued that a colleague noted that there weren't even any text messages in circulation with conspiracy theories and inevitable jokes about Osama's wives.

Pakistanis are not in denial. Just busy. They are busy fighting a hundred little battles that don't involve US Navy Seals or helicopter crashes or Arab tycoons. These battles are as vicious as any that you have seen in the last 10 years but they don't make good TV. How do you create high drama out of millions of industrial labourers being laid off because there is no electricity? How do you sex up the banal fact that every tenth child in the world who never sees the inside of a schoolroom is a Pakistani child?

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