Several lawyers from the federally administered tribal areas have challenged the conviction of alleged CIA collaborator Dr Shakil Afridi on treason charges.
The lawyers, accompanied by members of the Amn Tehreek, submitted an application to the Peshawar Central Jail, seeking Afridi’s approval for the power of attorney.
Legal opinion remains divided on the issue with some lawyers favouring the verdict, terming it as being according to the ‘law of the land’, while others, taking the opposite view, label the sentencing as unlawful and biased.
While talking to The Express Tribune, Amn Tehreek chief Idrees Kamal said that the application had been submitted and as soon as Afridi agrees, the body will move to challenge the verdict in the Appellate Commissioner Court (ACC), as outlined in the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR).
“Thousands of innocent Pakhtuns have been killed during the past decade. The world has been trying to eliminate terrorism and Afridi has done a service in that regard,” said Kamal.
The lawyers are also seeking access to a copy of the political administration’s order that contains Afridi’s sentence, he added.
Qamar Nadeem Afridi, member of the Fata Lawyers’ Forum (FLF) as well as a relative of Afridi, was of the same viewpoint, terming Afridi’s help to the CIA in apprehending Bin Laden in the same vein as nations fighting terrorism on a national scale.
“Section 121 (waging war against the state) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) under which Afridi has been sentenced, is ineffective. Afridi never waged war against his country, nor was he ever involved in conspiring against it,” said Nadeem.
FLF president Ijaz Mohmand said that the forum only wanted proper procedures to be followed in the case.
“I do not proclaim that Afridi has done something extraordinary, which begs a reward. However, he does possess the right to appeal against the verdict,” said Mohmand.
A panel of four lawyers, Ijaz Mohmand, Samiullah Afridi, Raza Khan Safi and Qamar Nadeem Afridi will be defending Afridi in court.
Last week, Afridi was sentenced to 33 years imprisonment after he had helped the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) track down al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in May 2011.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2012.
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