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His wife, children have already ‘disappeared’ for security reasons
- Thursday, May 24, 2012 - From Print Edition


PESHAWAR: The conviction and 33 years imprisonment to Dr Shakil Afridi through the political administration of Khyber Agency under the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) is seen by some legal experts as a deliberate attempt of the vested interest to save him from being executed on the treason charge.


He was accused of running three fake vaccination campaigns for the CIA in Abbottabad before the May 2, 2011 operation by US special force to collect Deoxyribonucleic Acid or DNA information on Osama bin Laden and his family there.


A tribal legal expert, who also hails from the Afridi tribe in Khyber tribal region, said since Dr Shakil Afridi had committed the crime outside the tribal areas, therefore, he argued he could not be tried under FCR.


“He had committed the crime in Abbottabad, far away from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and he was arrested in Peshawar. He should have been tried in a Pakistani court instead of the FCR to execute him on the treason charge,” the lawyer said.


Pleading anonymity, he argued since there was no death penalty and life imprisonment in the FCR, therefore, he felt, Pakistani authorities conducted his trial under the FCR to save him from being executed under treason charge.


The legal expert claimed the trial was conducted under the FCR due to a lot of US pressure on Pakistan government to save Dr Shakil from being executed by any Pakistani court.


“He would have faced death sentence had he been tried under the Pakistani court,” the lawyer said.Meanwhile, senior Pakistani security officials involved in his months-long interrogation said the findings collected by Dr Shakil Afridi had enabled the CIA to track down the world’s most wanted man and his family in Abbottabad city.


Dr Shakil Afridi was serving as the agency surgeon of the health department in Khyber Agency and he allegedly run three fake vaccination campaigns for the CIA in Abbottabad.


The Pakistani officials said he conducted first anti-polio campaign from March 17-19 in 2011 and later arranged another campaign on April 1-3, 2011 and the final campaign in which he reportedly collected blood samples of Osama bin Laden was held on April 21-22.


He was his way to home at Hayatabad in Peshawar from his office in Landikotal in the Khyber Agency when sleuths of Pakistan’s premier spy agency picked him up near the Karkhano Markets in Peshawar on May 24, 2011.


Since then, there was no information about the whereabouts of Dr Shakil Afridi. Some people have even declared him dead but to the surprise of many, he was produced in the court of Assistant Political Agent Bara subdivision, Mohammad Nasir, in Peshawar that handed him 33 years imprisonment.


The sources close to his family said three children and wife of Dr Shakil Afridi had already disappeared for security reasons. They were reports that they had been shifted to Multan in Punjab, where they owned property.


Even Dr Shakil Afridi was said to have received his early education in Multan and graduated from Khyber Medical Collage (KMC), Peshawar. His wife who belonged to Attock district in Punjab was serving as principal in a girls’ college in Mohmand Agency.


Dr Shakil Afridi had joined the provincial health department as a medical officer in the early 1990s and became as agency surgeon in Khyber Agency on April 15, 2010, though junior to many other doctors. Some of his colleagues alleged he had bribed senior official of Fata Secretariat for appointing him as the agency surgeon.


In the early 2009, for the first time he along with his wife and children visited the US for a short period as they had been invited by one of his maternal uncles living there.


His friends and staff members said that after visiting the US, Dr Shakil Afridi seemed to have undergone a change and was always found curious to talk about militancy and


discuss the profiles of high-ranking militants operating in Fata.