By Phill Ittner
Some Pakistanis are shocked and angry over the U.S. commando attack that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
Crowds of people flocked to the compound in Abbottabad where Osama bin Laden had been hiding.
And so has worldwide media — to cover what many see as a major historical development.
But many Pakistanis from around the area just came to look. Some to be a witness to history. And some to verify with their own eyes what happened.
“We have come to see whether all this is true or not. Such a big event has occurred here. The whole world is talking about it. I cannot believe that it is true. How can such a well-known person live in such a house?, said
local resident Alam Sher.
Guards still stopped anyone from actually entering the compound.
But for the first time, people got to see the entire exterior from nearby rooftops — and get a clear view of the villa where Osama bin Laden died.
Earlier in the day, security was much tighter — keeping people much further away, as an unnamed high ranking Pakistani officer inspected the site.
Not far away, crowds expressed anger and frustration over what they see as a violation of Pakistani sovereignty. They say, the fact that the U.S. conducted the mission without Pakistani authorization means their country is not well defended.
“We want to convey that we are insecure. Today, Americans came and they did what they wanted to do. Tomorrow, India will come and they will do what they want to do. Where is our security?,” said one Pakastani.
In the city of Multan, local imams led prayers for the dead.
The prayer service turned into a protest, praising bin Laden and condemning the United States
But the protests so far have been small and isolated.
“I think the reason why there are no big protests, demonstrations in Pakistan is due to the fact that support for every kind of militant — whether al-Qaida, whether Taliban, Jihadi — that has gone down. It doesn’t mean that the people of Pakistan are now supporting the U.S. There’s still a very strong anti-U.S. sentiment in Pakistan,” said Pakistani journalist Rahimullah Yusafzai.
Sentiment that has been inflamed, some say, by the killing of America’s enemy number one on Pakistani territory.