According to his Twitter, Athar spent some time this morning speaking with Mosharraf Zaidi and Omar Waraich, reporters covering Pakistan, and somebody from Reuters because they got to him before he could go to sleep. We can anticipate more detailed information soon. Until then, this is what we know:
Sohaib Athar is a 34-year-old IT consultant born in Lahore, Pakistan. According to his Twitter biography, he's living in Abbottabad while "taking a break from the rat-race by hiding in the mountains with his laptops." He moved there two years ago from Lahore, where he seems to have spent his entire life. A 1996 graduate of Forman Christian College in Lahore, Athar earned his BSc in Pure and Applied Mathematics and Physics before going on to complete Masters-level studies in Computer Science at the University of the Punjab.
Athar maintains a blog at ReallyVirtual.com. In the past, Athar has used this space to write about programming-related topics, document the deaths of protestors and even to complain about the state. Last July, when Athar's wife and son were in an accident he described as "near-fatal" with a police van, he took to ReallyVirtual. "Most of us Pakistani IT professionals spend our lived shielded from the 'system,'" Athar wrote. "Yes, we sometimes come out of our shells and protest against whatever we believe we have to demonstrate against -- and yes, we do write blog posts and opine and criticize and debate, and sometimes we attend the feel-good TEDx talks to 'spread ideas' -- but living in front of our computers, we rarely get a first-hand experience of the system that we loathe (but one that we have to live in)." Athar went on to conclude that he was shocked and disgusted by the "state of our legal and health system."
Before this morning, though, it had been nearly a year since Athar updated ReallyVirtual.com. "The Guy Who Liveblogged the Osama Raid Without Knowing It" was the title of his most recent blog entry, filed under "Etc." The post: "...is what I am for the next few hours on twitter," he wrote, explaining the headline. "I am too tired and sleepy to blog or talk about it though, but I guess it is finally time to revive this abandoned blog. Maybe tomorrow..."
He knew interest was mounting. After tweeting about the helicopter hovering over Abbottabad, Athar continued to update his feed, essentially liveblogging the raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound without knowing the details. "A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S," he wrote. At this point, Athar started exchanging Twitter messages with others in Pakistan. To Mohcin Shah in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, he wrote: "all silent after the blast, but a friend heard it 6 km away too... the helicopter is gone too." Staying on top of the story, Athar predicted the event was part of "a complicated situation" as the Taliban "(probably) don't have helicopters."