A legal, non-governmental organisation submitted an application at the Peshawar central prison on Tuesday, seeking the power of attorney for Dr Shakil Afridi in the appeal against his conviction.
Dr Afridi was charged with treason and sentenced to 33 years in jail by the Khyber Agency political administration for his role in helping the CIA track down al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
“This is his right. There are illegalities and irregularities in the verdict announced against Dr Afridi,” said Sartaj Ahmad, chairman of the Legal Aid Welfare Organisation.
“We are not bothered about the verdict announced, but about the procedure adopted for the case,” Ahmad said, adding that the doctor should be tried according to the law.
Ahmad said his organisation would provide free legal aid to Dr Afridi in his appeal.
As reports of a 2002 Pakistani health department inquiry – declaring Dr Afridi corrupt, unreliable and unfit for government service – surfaced, US officials on Monday called the accusations character assassination.
In Washington, one senior official said the US government was unaware of any questionable behaviour by Dr Afridi.
“Available information showed Dr Afridi was a respected member of the Pakistani health care community,” said the senior official.
The Afridi family’s lawyer declined to be drawn on the controversy. “I cannot comment on any past allegations against him,” Raza Safi told Reuters. (With additional input from Reuters)
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2012.
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