The morning after it was announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, we introduced you to Sohaib Athar, the 34-year-old Pakistani IT consultant who tweeted the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad without even knowing it. "Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)," Athar wrote before continuing to document the night in a steady stream of updates. When others noticed that it was Athar who was first on the scene, so to speak, he picked up tens of thousands of followers and was transformed into a digital celebrity overnight.
CNET's Declan McCullagh interviewed Athar on Wednesday afternoon and found a few more interesting bits of information about the Lahore-born graduate of the University of the Punjab. For example, Athar received at least one marriage proposal through the short-form network that helped catapult him to fame. We've pulled out some of the other more compelling bits. You can also read the full Q+A here.
Any Bin Laden t-shirts yet?
Not in Abbottabad yet, nobody has cashed in on it ... Hmm ... thanks for the idea!
Should the photo, and perhaps the video, of Bin Laden's demise be released?
Yes, definitely. The world deserve to see it. An "Osama II: The Return of Osama"-type scenario will always be in the back of their minds otherwise.
Why live in Abbottabad instead of somewhere more urban?
I moved from the second most urban city of Pakistan (after Karachi), Lahore. There were many reasons for the move, but the weather alone is a sufficient reason to live here. Other reasons: less power failure (not true now), no doorbells, more focus, cleaner air, low traffic.
Are you the first person in Pakistan to pass 100,000 Twitter followers, as far as you know?
As far as I know, yes.
One of my colleagues wanted me to ask you if there was any weirdness with radios, Wi-Fi, or mobile phones during the raid. Jamming, in other words.
The power was cut during the raid -- a friend living in the neighborhood verified that. Landlines were working at least in my area. They did jam the signals and landlines a while AFTER the operation (and probably during the search operations) in the (Pakistani) morning, as many people could not get through to their friends or family living near the compound.