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Pak sacks doctor who helped CIA track Osama

March 29, 2012 19:49 IST

Pakistan on Thursday sacked the government doctor who had helped the Central Intelligence Agency track down Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad in May last year, amid calls for trying him for treason.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti sacked the doctor, Shakeel Afridi, on disciplinary grounds under his discretionary powers.

The provincial government issued a notification for the dismissal of Afridi, officials said.

As many as 17 medics who worked on a fake vaccination programme set up by the CIA to confirm that the Al Qaeda chief was living in Abbottabad were sacked earlier.

Afridi is currently in the custody of security agencies and Pakistan has spurned calls from the US for his release. Earlier, United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had said Afridi worked for US intelligence by collecting DNA to verify the 9/11 mastermind's presence in Pakistan.

He had expressed concern over reports that Afridi could be tried for treason. "He was not in any way treasonous towards Pakistan," Panetta had told CBS television.

Bin Laden, 54, world's most wanted terrorist, was killed in a clandestine US raid in his compound located a short distance from the elite Pakistan Military Academy.

Afridi worked as a government doctor in the lawless Khyber tribal region. A judicial commission investigating bin Laden's presence in Pakistan and the US raid has recommended that Afridi should be tried for treason.

British newspaper The Guardian reported in July last year that Afridi set up a fake vaccination programme in the hope of obtaining DNA samples from the compound where the CIA suspected bin Laden was living.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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