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Fata Tribunal adjourns hearing into Shakil Afridi’s petition against conviction

By our correspondents
July 19, 2016

PESHAWAR: The Fata Tribunal on Monday once again adjourned hearing into the petition filed by Dr Shakil Afridi against his conviction for having links with a banned militant organization.

The tribunal adjourned the case for non-production of the case record by the Khyber Agency administration despite repeated notices since 2014. The tribunal adjourned hearing to August 23. The administration was asked to produce the case record before the next hearing.

The tribunal comprises Chairman Sange Marjan Khan and members Hussainzada Khan and Atif Nazi. Dr Shakil Afridi’s lawyer, Qamar Nadeem Afridi, told reporters that no progress had taken place in the case as the record was not available and thus, the tribunal adjourned the case with simple directives to the political administration to produce the record.

On March 15, 2014, the FCR commissioner, the appellate forum under the FCR, had upheld the conviction of Dr Shakil Afridi for having links to a banned militant organisation of Bara tehsil in Khyber Agency. But it reduced his prison term given by the assistant political agent’s court from 33 years to 23 years. The fine was reduced from Rs320,000 fine to Rs220,000.

Dr Shakil Afridi had challenged the upholding of his conviction by the FCR commissioner by filing the review petition. However, the political administration challenged cut in the sentence by the FCR commissioner in the tribunal.

Since filing of the petition by Dr Shakil Afridi in 2014, no progress has taken place in the case due to non-submission of the record by the political administration. In the review petition, Dr Shakil Afridi claimed that he was denied the right to fair trial and was convicted by the assistant political agent on ‘flimsy grounds.’

The petitioner contended that the FCR commissioner had overlooked several facts while upholding his conviction. He stated that earlier tribunal had sent the case back to the commissioner to have clarification on certain points, but instead of clarifying those points, the commissioner upheld the decision of the APA.