Pakistani based in Qatar says she wanted to play Bin Laden’s wife in movie

May 17, 2011

Salma - The Peninsula

A Pakistani woman, who had always dreamt of playing the wife of Osama Bin Laden in a film, says she was “rudely shocked” when she learnt that he was holed up a stone’s throw from her sister’s home in Abbottabad.

Based in Qatar, Salma Nazneen said that she had spent a month with her sister late last year and would look at the palatial yet desolate house where Bin Laden was found, wondering if someone actually lived there.

“My sister and her children always thought a smuggler lived in that house,” Nazneen said of the three-storey white building in which the Al Qaida leader hid for years.

“With so many killings taking place in Pakistan, no one living in the vicinity of the house ever dared venture near it for fear they would invite unwanted trouble. Everything about the house looked suspicious,” Nazneen told Qatari daily The Peninsula. She said she was originally from Mansaira, which is not far from Abbottabad, and her mother tongue is Hindko, the lingua franca of the region.

Turned down

Living with her husband in Qatar, Nazneen said she read a book on Bin Laden’s life — an Urdu translation from Arabic — seven or eight years ago and became a fan overnight. “Such a charismatic man he was that he should have actually fought to end terrorism from the world … I would have told him so had I met him,” she said.

Nazneen said she was so obsessed with the Al Qaida leader that she contacted a Pakistani film producer, Syed Noor, asking him to make a film on Bin Laden’s life and cast her as one of his wives.

Syed Noor turned down the suggestion, saying that he would need the Pakistan government’s approval to make such a film.

“He said he would also require the US administration’s permission to make a film on Bin Laden,” she said.

However, even though she was disappointed, Nazneen said she did not give up on meeting the Al Qaida leader.

She said she went back to Pakistan a few years ago and stayed there for two years looking for contacts in Al Qaida so she could meet Bin Laden.


She said she was so desperate to meet Bin Laden that she went to many places looking for the contacts. “But my efforts were in vain, and I returned to Qatar.”

“I was really shocked when I learned that he was holed up right across from where my sister stayed in Abbottabad,” she said. “I had a hunch that Bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan — somewhere in Mansaira — my home town.”

Nazneen said she was a daredevil and that her most cherished ambition was to go on adventurous spy missions to places around the world.

“I am best suited for this kind of a job, if only some country employed me,” she told the daily.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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