The Punjab government has refused to accommodate Dr Shakil Afridi at the Adiala Jail saying the province already has its fair share of law and order problems.
The federal government had requested Punjab’s provincial administration to house Dr Shakil Afridi, said to be responsible for divulging information on Osama Bin Laden’s whereabouts to the US. However, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said on Sunday that Punjab has turned down the request.
Punjab’s government maintains that Dr Afridi has become a security threat and that the province cannot afford to take upon itself another law and order burden.
Shakil was sentenced to 33 years of imprisonment by the political administration of the tribal area after consultation with a local Jirga on May 23 for allegedly maintaining ties with banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Islam. He was sent to Peshawar’s central prison, but a letter was recently issued by K-P’s home and tribal affairs department to the federal government seeking his transfer. K-P officials maintained that Dr Afridi posed a security threat and was not safe in Peshawar.
“Keeping Dr Afridi at the central prison in Peshawar is risky keeping in view the recent attack on Banu Jail. We cannot keep him here and that is why we wrote a letter to the interior ministry to shift Dr Afridi to Adiala Jail as soon as possible,” official sources earlier told The Express Tribune.
A number of human rights activists and lawyers stood up for Dr Afridi after his imprisonment. Shakil’s counsel, Adovate Qamar and members of the Aman Tehreek have also moved the Frontier Crimes Regulation commissioner and challenged the sentence.
Aman Tehreek’s convener Idrees Kamal said the Peshawar Central Jail is hosting a number of high-profile militants and that the government should provide foolproof security to ensure Afridi’s safety.
“The first hearing of the case is scheduled for June 21. Don’t you think it would be difficult for authorities to drive Dr Afridi from Adiala to Peshawar?” questioned Kamal.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2012.
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