ISLAMABAD: The Abbottabad commission investigating the May 2 US raid that killed Osama bin Laden directed the government on Thursday to institute a high treason case against a doctor who allegedly collaborated with American intelligence agencies in locating the world’s most wanted man in Abbottabad, and also lifted travel restrictions on the al Qaeda chief’s family.
Dr Shakeel Afridi, a public servant of the health department of Fata, is accused of running a fictitious test campaign in Abbottabad in order to conclusively determine the biological kinship of Osama’s children to confirm his presence in the compound.
It was widely reported that the US had been lobbying for his release, which included a call from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to President Asif Ali Zardari. According to media reports, the president turned down the request.
“In view of the record and evidence … the commission is of the view that prima facie, a case of conspiracy against the state of Pakistan and high treason is made out against him,” said the statement.
“A case under relevant law should be registered.”
In regards to Osama’s family – in Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) custody since the operation – the commission lifted travel restrictions after recording their statements. The ISI had taken custody of Bin Laden’s widows, two Saudis and one Yemeni, and around 10 of their children after the May 2 operation and the commission had barred authorities from handing them over to any other country without its permission.
During the past few days, the commission also summoned ISI officials, including its chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha. The commission said that it conducted “an exhaustive interview” of Pasha to understand his views.
Chairman of the commission Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal also ordered the handing over of the Osama compound to the district administration “for disposal in accordance with relevant law.”
The compound where Osama and his family lived, some reports suggesting for around 5 years, was sealed by military authorities. According to records, it was owned by a man registered with an address of a city in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa but investigations revealed he used a fake identity card.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2011.