PESHAWAR: Dr Shakil Afridi is a traitor and the Pakistan government must be restrained from relocating him anywhere outside the country, a lawyer stated in a petition filed in the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday.
The PHC bench again sought the federal government’s response on the writ petition, which urged the court to restrain the authorities concerned from transferring Dr Shakil Afridi outside the country.
The petition, filed by a senior lawyer Muhammad Khurshid Khan, was heard by a two-judge bench of the PHC, comprising Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim, and issued notices to all respondents.
The petitioner alleged that a secret deal had been struck with the US for extraditing Afridi.
Terming all such moves illegal and unconstitutional, the petitioner requested the court to stop the authorities concerned in this regard.
Dr Shakil Afridi, who was serving as a surgeon in the Khyber Agency, has been languishing in jail since 2011 when he was arrested for running a fake vaccination campaign ostensibly to identify Osama bin Laden’s residence and helping the US forces to track down and kill the al-Qaida terrorist.
Afridi was produced before a four-member tribal court, headed by then Political Agent of Khyber Agency, and was sentenced to 33-year-long jail term in May 2012.
He was accused of “aiding militants and waging a war against the state”.
Afridi filed an appeal against the sentence in the FATA tribunal which reduced the sentence to 23 years after dismissing the accusation of “waging a war against Pakistan”.
Afridi’s lawyer contended that Afridi had served his sentence and sought the court to immediately free the man, adding that as a free man, he had the right to live wherever he wanted.
“Dr Shakil Afridi is a traitor. He worked in Pakistan as a US operative,” the petitioner alleged. “This is one of the reasons (why) the American government is pressing Pakistan for his release,” the petitioner stated.
Accusing the Pakistani government of striking a deal with the US government for Afridi’s release, he requested the court to restrain the government from acting on any such deal.
The petitioner accused Afridi of creating unnecessary doubts in people’s minds about vaccination campaigns, adding that people already harboured many untrue notions about the efficacy of vaccination drives.
The petitioner also requested the court to direct the government to keep Afridi in Peshawar’s central jail and restrain the government from shifting him anywhere else.
Subsequently, the two-judge bench directed the provincial home minister and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government through the chief secretary and the federal interior minister to submit a response by the next hearing.