A prison guard has been sacked for facilitating a telephone interview of jailed Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi, who had conducted a phony vaccination drive to help the CIA track down al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in his Abbottabad mansion.
The guard confessed before an inquiry panel that he had allowed Dr Afridi to make calls from his cellphone, a senior official of Peshawar’s Central Prison told The Express Tribune. However, the guard said he thought Dr Afridi was making the calls to his family.
In the interview to American news channel Fox News on September 10, Dr Afridi had claimed that after the Abbottabad raid he had been kidnapped and tortured by Pakistani intelligence. He had also alleged that the ISI regarded the US as its worst enemy.
The inquiry panel is also questioning a police constable for his possible role in facilitating the interview, the prison official said. “Though the guard has confessed to assisting Dr Afridi, we are still investigating as to how the cellphone was carried into the cell,” he said of the sacked guard.
The official said that after the interview a search operation was launched in Dr Afridi’s cell. He categorically rejected media reports that a satellite phone was recovered from the cell.
“Every corner of the cell was checked – and nothing was found. Still we monitored the two guards and arrested them subsequently on suspicion,” the official added.
Meanwhile, Dr Afridi’s family has petitioned the commissioner of the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) to allow them to meet the jailed doctor in his prison cell, his cousin Qamar Nadeem Afridi confirmed to The Express Tribune. After the Fox News interview, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government had barred Dr Afridi from meeting his relatives and lawyers.
On the other hand, Dr Afridi’s case was adjourned till January 17 due to a strike called by the Pakistan Bar Council against the judicial policy. It is the 7th time since June this year that the case has been adjourned.