Dr. Shakil Afridi, in a screen grab from Pakistan TV: After helping

the CIA track down Osama bin Laden, he sits in a jail cell after

being sentenced to 33 years in jail for, among other things, ‘waging

war on Pakistan.’



Dr. Afridi’s Conviction an Irrational Violation of Pakistan’s Interests (The Express Tribune)


“No wonder the only message the rest of the world and many within this country get from this, is that we aren’t serious about battling al-Qaeda or the Taliban, and that the anti-Americanism within us is now so virulent, it prevents us from seeing and doing things that are otherwise in our own interests.”




May 25, 2012


Pakistan – The Express Tribune – Original Article (English)

Dr. Shakil Afridi, a surgeon who helped the CIA identify Osama bin Laden: His conviction on treason charges Wednesday, and his sentence of 33 years behind bars, is sending yet another shock wave through U.S.-Pakistan relations.


NEWS VIDEO FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES: U.S. Congress blocks $33 million of aid to Pakistan; 1 $million for every year of Dr. Shakil Afridi's sentence, May 24, 00:07:27 RealVideo

Osama bin Laden lived safely and peacefully in this country for many years. And yet so far, the only person to have been punished for that is the man who helped track him down. Beyond that, no action has been taken against anyone in Pakistan’s intelligence or law-enforcement apparatus, either on account of how American helicopters intruded so deeply inside Pakistani territory or how bin Laden managed to live in Pakistan for so many years - apparently undetected.


Dr. Shakil Afridi, who at the behest of the United States, ran a vaccination program to collect DNA samples of bin Laden’s family, was sentenced to 33 years in prison by a tribal court under the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR). Why Dr. Afridi was tried and sentenced in Khyber Agency when the crime took place in Abbottabad, which is in a settled area and is therefore under the jurisdiction of the Peshawar High Court, remains to be answered. Notwithstanding an unnamed government official who is telling news wires services that Afridi has the right of appeal, by trying him under the FCR, Article 247 of the Constitution effectively bars the high court or the Supreme Court from jurisdiction. And to make the entire “trial” even more controversial, the doctor had no legal representation, which is perhaps the norm under the FCR.

Posted by Worldmeets.US


It is no wonder then, that this verdict is being so widely questioned. For starters, there is the argument – which has some justification - that helping to locate the world’s most wanted man should not warrant 33 years in prison, even if it meant helping a foreign government in the process. Of course, that is not to say that Dr. Afridi obeyed the law of the land - he did not. But did he deserve such a stiff prison term?  

News Bundle: Arrest of CIA Informant Dr. Afridi: Comment from Pakistan


Furthermore, two of the three charges he was convicted of: “waging war against Pakistan”; and “concealing a plan to wage war against Pakistan,” should be seen in the context of the eventual outcome, which was that the country was rid of perhaps the world’s most dangerous terrorist - a man whose organization and its affiliates have the blood of thousands of Pakistanis on their hands. Moreover, the previous government of General Pervez Musharraf handed dozens of al-Qaeda leaders to the U.S. - and not a single case involving the violation of sovereignty or “waging war against Pakistan” was ever filed against anyone.


The sorry fact is that Dr. Afridi’s treatment coveys a lot about our priorities - both to us and the outside world. We remain fixated on America’s violation of our sovereignty on May 2, but choose to ignore the fact that militants have used our territory unencumbered for years.


This has also been the great failing of the commission formed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the May 2 raid. Instead of focusing on how bin Laden was able to live freely in Abbottabad and determining if he did so with the support of people in the government or military, the commission, too, has been preoccupied with the question of sovereignty.




Dawn: Dr. Afridi’s Illegitimate 'Trial'

Daily Jang, Pakistan: Dr. Afridi, Treason and Small Change

Express Tribune, Pakistan: Dr. Afridi: Hero or Traitor?

Express Tribune, Pakistan:: Did Afridi Commit Treason
Express Tribune, Pakistan:
Will Afridi Get His Day in Court?
Express Tribune, Pakistan: Afridi Deserves Due Process
Express Tribune, Pakistan: Surgeon Who Helped CIA Gets 33 Years
The Nation, Pakistan: U.S. Insists there 'No Basis' for Dr. Afridi Arrest
Dawn, Pakistan: U.S. Senators Warn Pakistan is on Path to Confrontation
The Nation: Senate Cuts Aid $1 Million for Each Year of Afridi's Sentence  


There is another aspect to this as well. In recent months, ordinary Pakistanis have seen how murderers, those who spew sectarian hate and people who incite others to kill and cause mayhem have been let off by the courts on account of a “lack of evidence.”And this hasn’t applied only to those who kill in the name of religion. Even in places like Karachi, where dozens of contract killers have held the city practically hostage, hundreds have been murdered. And yet we haven’t seen a single one of these criminals convicted and handed a lengthy prison sentence.


Juxtapose this with the case of Dr, Shakil Afridi, who helped capture and remove bin Laden from our midst, and who was given a swift “trial” with no lawyer, and was handed a prison term of over 30 years! No wonder the only message the rest of the world and many within this country get from this, is that we aren’t serious about battling al-Qaeda or the Taliban, and that the anti-Americanism within us is now so virulent, it prevents us from seeing and doing things that are otherwise in our own interests.



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[Posted by Worldmeets.US May 26, 6:36pm]





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