KARACHI: Why are we all getting so emotional and nationalistic about Dr Shakil Afridi’s sentencing? Dr Afridi helped nab Osama bin Laden, the world’s most wanted man and dreaded leader of al Qaeda which has killed thousands of Pakistanis in indiscriminate attacks, many of which have been suicide bombings.
It is clear that at the time of his apparent transgression, he was a government employee. Two points need to be noted in that regard: 1. Was he working on a government approved project when he allegedly obtained the DNA samples of the Bin Laden family? 2. Was the outcome of his helping nab Osama in accordance with the avowed objectives of our own government’s participation in the war on terror? The latter is to fight terrorists and militants and to rid the country of their leadership — which is precisely what Dr Afridi’s actions helped achieve. Why then has he been hounded and victimised? And that, too, under the archaic tribal laws of Fata?
Many senior politicians in America seem to think that the doctor did a good job, not just for America but for Pakistan as well because the end result was the removal of Osama bin Laden from Pakistani soil. My question to our government is: What is your view in the matter? Was Bin Laden a friend or an enemy of Pakistan? Are the activities of al Qaeda and its allied Taliban strengthening Pakistan or weakening it?
These are the issues we all must grapple and come to terms with before going overboard condemning those who are now speaking out against Dr Afridi’s punishment.
The sooner our policy- and decision-makers get rid of the confusion in their minds and agree on what the real policy is, the better it will be for ordinary Pakistanis such as myself. Right now most of us are quite simply confounded by the ambivalent policies of the government.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2012.
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