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Pakistan mulling when to deport bin Laden family members

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Story highlights

  • The detention of the widows and daughters of Osama bin Laden has ended
  • A Pakistani judge ordered that they be deported once they had served the sentence
  • Pakistan says it is waiting for responses from Yemen and Saudi Arabia
  • The Yemeni authorities say Pakistan is "stalling"

Pakistan says it is liaising with the governments of Yemen and Saudi Arabia before it decides when to deport several of Osama bin Laden's family members of back to their homelands.

The detention of the terrorist mastermind's three widows and two daughters ended Tuesday night. But as of late Wednesday, there were no signs that they had left the Islamabad house where they were held.

A judge had ordered earlier this month that the five women be deported back to their countries of citizenship after serving their sentence for living illegally in Pakistan. Two of the widows are Saudi while one is Yemeni.

The widows -- identified by U.S. and Pakistani officials as Amal Ahmed Abdul Fateh, Khairiah Sabar and Siham Sabar -- have been in Pakistani custody since U.S. Navy SEALs raided bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad and killed the al Qaeda leader in May 2011.

"We have written to both the embassies and we have also sought the consent of the family members," Rehman Malik, the Pakistani interior minister, said Wednesday.

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Islamabad will make a decision on when to deport the women "once we have reply from the respective embassies," he said.

    But the Yemeni foreign minister accused Pakistan of delaying the departure of Fateh, the Yemeni widow.

    "We are the ones pushing for the release of the family and Pakistani authorities have been stalling," Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, the Yemeni minister, said Wednesday.

    "The Yemen ambassador in Pakistan has been working around the clock seeking the release of the family, and Yemen is ready to accept them at anytime," he said.

    The authorities in Saudi Arabia, where the other two widows are from, have repeatedly declined to comment on the matter.

    Bin Laden spent years on the run in Pakistan after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, moving from one safe house to another and fathering four children with Fateh -- at least one of whom was born in a government hospital, she told Pakistani investigators.

    A deposition taken from Fateh gives the clearest picture yet of bin Laden's life while international forces hunted him. He and his family moved from city to city with the help of Pakistanis who arranged "everything" for them, Fateh said, according to the deposition.

    She told police she never applied for a visa during her stay in Pakistan.

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