Pakistan protest pays tribute to bin Laden


Supporters of hard line pro-Taliban party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Nazaryati carry portraits of slain Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as they pray for bin Laden during an anti-US rally in Quetta, Pakistan on May 2, 2012, the first anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden. Pakistan was in a state of high alert on May 2, over fears militants will launch revenge attacks on the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden's killing by American Navy SEALs.


Banara Khan

Supporters of Osama bin Laden marked the first anniversary of his death with a large rally in southwest Pakistan today, Al Jazeera reported

Reports varied as to the size of the demonstration in Quetta, with estimates ranging from 500 to as many as 1,500 people

The event came a day after US President Barack Obama showed up in neighboring Afghanistan for a suprise visit timed to the anniversary of the US raid that killed the former al-Qaeda chief in Pakistan. 

More from GlobalPost: A year after bin Laden death, poll finds broad Muslim disapproval of Al Qaeda

Al Jazeera cited local media as saying the protesters, led by the pro-Taliban Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam party, shouted slogans like "Long Live Osama"  in response to rally leaders calling the former terror chief the "hero of the whole Muslim world."

A spokesman for the Jamiat-e-Ulema told the Associated Press that over 1,000 demonstrators torched US flags at the rally, adding that the group also gave out free food to hundreds of poor people -- a traditional Muslim mourning custom. 

Some 13 percent of Pakistanis are favorably inclined toward bin Laden, according to a recent Pew Global Attitudes Project poll that found majorities of Muslims hold an unfavorable opinion of the former terror chief. 

Security is high in Pakistan over fears over a revenge attack related to bin Laden's killing, said Agence-France Press