Westwood, Pakistani Officials React to bin Laden's Death
Aziz Ahmad Jamali, who is working with Westwood officials, said the news of bin Laden's death is a significant development for both the U.S. and Pakistan.
A Pakistani government official currently working as part of a program in Westwood said Monday that the sudden news of Osama bin Laden's death is a significant development for both his country and the United States.
"The killing is confirmed, and that is good news for all those who are fighting terrorism," said Aziz Ahmad Jamali. "I would look at this killing as one of the significant developments."
Jamali is an intern from Pakistan working with Westwood and surrounding towns through the Mass Municipal Association (MMA) and Institute for Training and Development. He recently spent time working with officials in Dedham as well.
Town Administrator Mike Jaillet, who has been working closely with Jamali, said Westwood has engaged with officials from several countries in the past, from Japan to South Africa to Norther Ireland.
"This gives us an opportunity to have a cultural exchange with people at the level that most of us live at," Jaillet said. "About how our lives are very much similar. We are all about having a good life and a peaceful life and finding ways to interact with each other."
Jamali is working alongside Westwood officials for a total span of two weeks, with this week being his last. And hearing the news of bin Laden's death is something he said can bring potentially more tension ahead, but the move is more than ground breaking.
"I see tension ahead," he said. "(But) this killing is a relief . . . it has been significant, and it is good news."
Jamali's brother, Hafeez Jamali, stopped by Westwood for a visit this week to see Aziz work with town officials. Like his brother, he said while he hasn't heard official statements from Pakistan on the matter, he's feeling a bit easier about the news.
"I haven't talked to folks back in Pakistan, and we have yet to have the official details, but at the gut level, it's a sigh of relief," Hafeez Jamali said. "It's more of a symbolic act at this point in time, but I would imagine everyone . . . I personally do feel like I can breath easier now."
Hafeez left for Texas Monday to begin working towards his Ph. D in social anthropology, expertise in social economic development, and social change in Pakistan.
"I've been traveling around, so I didn't get a chance to see the official statement from the Pakistani government, and I imagine there will be a statement from the Pakistani foreign office and armed forces," he said. "Once we get their perspective, we will be in a better position to comment."
Jaillet, meanwhile, said the news of bin Laden's death has solidified the notion that the Americans and Pakistanis are in similar ties when it comes to living peacefully, and said he was grateful to have the chance to work with Jamali and meet his brother.
"I think there's a benefit of having them here, especially today," Jaillet said. "To know that the people themselves at the ground level are by-and-large as happy about this as we are in the United States . . . it was done in a way that no civilians were found among the casualties. I think that's critical. Innocent people should not have to pay the price."