ISLAMABAD: All pictures of Osama bin Laden, shown on print/electronic media have been snapped by Business Recorder Photo-Journalist Mazhar Ali Khan, who is the only photographer in the world who twice met Osama in Afghanistan.
Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday Mazhar said that first he visited Afghanistan in 1997 along with Hamid Mir, who at that time was Editor of daily Ausaf.
He added that in 1999 he along with three other Pakistani journalists including Saud Ashar, Zahid Jahangvi and Asif Bashir visited Osama and went to Khost city of Afghanistan where Osama held a press conference.
Mazhar said that both international and local media were showing Osama’s photo without his consent which is a clear violation of intellectual property rights.
Narrating his Afghanistan journey of 1997, Mazhar said that when Hamid Mir informed him he wanted to visit Afghanistan for interviewing Osama, “First I was surprised, but I said, yes, I am ready to visit. On this, Hamid warned me that the journey could be dangerous. When I was leaving for Afghanistan I informed my family that I am going somewhere outside the city and would return within a day” he said.
He said that on his journey to Jalalabad in 1997 Osama men blindfolded them for nearly six-seven hours and then from Jalalabad they started their journey to Tora-Bora, where Osama met them. “In Tora-Bora, they took away all our belongings from us; even our clothes, for security purpose. After an hour, Osama came and shook hands with us. It was around 9 pm,” he said. After that Osama said that he would meet in the morning prayers for interview.
Mazhar said that as far as Osama’s personality was concerned, “I found him sober, while his attitude with his subordinates and visitors was quite polite”.
He said that the snaps being displayed by the international and local media were taken by him, and displayed a large collection of Osama’s snaps.
(Published in “Daily Business Recorder” on May 5, 2011)