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Rediff.com  » News » Dr Afridi jailed for helping militants, not CIA, claims Pakistan

Dr Afridi jailed for helping militants, not CIA, claims Pakistan

May 30, 2012 13:00 IST

The case of Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi took a new twist on Wednesday when a detailed order about his arrest and conviction stated that he has been punished for his links with a militant outfit, not for working with the Central Intelligence Agency and helping it locate Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

The order has revealed that Dr Afridi will be produced before another court for the trial over his links with the CIA. His current 33-year jail term under the draconian Frontier Crime Regulation was due to his active contact with militant group Lashkar-e-Islam led by Mangal Bagh Afridi, said the order.

The detailed order of Assistant Political Agent Nasir Khan convicts Dr Shakeel Afridi on four counts of anti-State activities and sentences him to 33 years in jail. The order, which became available on Wednesday, recommended that evidence of Dr Afridi's involvement in activities linking him to foreign intelligence agencies be produced before another relevant court for further proceedings under the law.

The five-page order containing the detailed judgment pointed out that the court could not take into account the evidence obtained by the Joint Investigation Team regarding the involvement of the accused in acts associating him with foreign intelligence agencies due to lack of jurisdiction.

The report says that the punishment given to Dr Shakeel Afridi is on the basis of his conviction for maintaining close links with the outlawed militant group. LI operates in Bara and Tirah valley of Khyber Agency. Dr Afridi was charged with providing financial assistance to LI, treating its injured fighters and facilitating its attacks against the security forces.

The order said the LI was waging war against the State of Pakistan and it had publicly slaughtered government officials and supporters, launched attacks on convoys of law-enforcement agencies and checkpoints and demolished public properties and schools.

Mangal Bagh, also known as Mangal Bagh Afridi, was the founding leader of LI. Also known as Amir Sahib, he is from Bara tehsil and belonged to the Sipah Afridi tribe.

In 2004, Mangal Bagh formed LI, an anti-Pakistan militant group. He was reportedly killed in March 2012 by security forces but his terror outfit is still active in Khyber agency.
 
Dr Shakeel Afridi has also been accused of working as a CIA informer and running a fake anti-polio vaccination campaign in Abbottabad to obtain DNA samples from members of Laden's family in a bid to track down the Al Qaeda founder. He may be tried in another district court on these charges.

According to the order, Dr Shakeel Afridi was arrested on May 23, 2011, by the political administration of Khyber Agency on the basis of reports that he was involved in anti-State activities.

Jamil Afridi, the brother of the convicted doctor, said the decision was one sided and his brother was not given a chance to clarify his position.

"My brother is not a traitor, he is a patriot. The sentence is one sided. We will file an appeal against this illegal verdict," he had said.

In its report, JIT maintained that he gave Rs 2 million to the banned militant group while serving at the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital at Dogra in Bara area. Dr Afridi also provided medical assistance to LI's commanders Said Noor Malikdinkhel, Hazrat from the Sepah tribe, Wahid from the Shalobar Qambarkhel tribe and others.

Dr Afridi was found guilty on all four counts, sentenced to 33-year imprisonment and fined Rs 3, 20, 000, stated the order.

Tahir Ali In Islamabad