Abbottabad raid: Commission bars Dr Afridi, others from foreign travel

All people related to the incident will require clearance from the panel to leave Pakistan.

Irfan Ghauri September 07, 2011


Pakistani citizens, including a doctor, who helped the US track down slain al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden have been barred from leaving the country without official permission.

The ban has been imposed by a judicial panel, headed by Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, which has been tasked to investigate the May 2 US raid that killed Bin Laden in Abbottabad.

The restriction has reinforced the position of the Pakistani government, which has reportedly been resisting US pressure to release Dr Shakeel Afridi and his accomplices so that they can be given sanctuary in the US.

“The commission has imposed a ban on foreign travel for all persons related to the Abbottabad incident, including Dr Afridi, till further orders. No such person should be allowed to leave the country without clearance from the commission,” said a short statement issued on Tuesday.

The terms of reference of the commission are to ascertain the facts regarding Bin Laden’s prolonged presence in Pakistan, investigate the circumstances and facts surrounding the US operation, determine the nature, background and causes of lapses on part of the responsible authorities, if any, and make consequential recommendations.

The commission is authorised to summon anyone within Pakistan, including officials of powerful secret agencies, military and civilian authorities, and has already called various officials, mainly from military authorities.

On July 5, the commission had directed Pakistani authorities, including secret agencies, to disallow Bin Laden’s family from leaving the country without the commission’s permission. The family is believed to be in the custody of Pakistani intelligence agencies.

Soon after the US secret operation, the Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI) busted a network of Pakistanis who were working for hunting down Bin Laden in connivance with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Dr Afridi and over a dozen others in the network were taken into custody in the weeks following the US operation. They are still under custody of Pakistani agencies.

The doctor and his collaborators had been recruited by the CIA, under the pretext of vaccinating residents for Hepatitis B, to get a DNA sample of those living inside the house to ascertain if they were Bin Laden’s family members.

Afridi had been a government employee and was working as in-charge of the health department for tribal areas, bordering Afghanistan. He was picked up from Peshawar and is still in the custody of Pakistani agencies but no formal charges have been levelled at him so far.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th,  2011.


Max | 10 years ago | Reply

An enermy of your friend is your enemy and the opposite is true ... unless Pakistan is preaching that Osama was their friend ... otherwise the people who helped the american mission on Osama are friends to America. Pakistan is friend to America hence we can therefore conclude that the mission aiders are friends to Pakistan.

mussarat Hussain | 10 years ago | Reply

Will Osama Bin Laden re-alive if certain pakistanis or doctors are put of Exit Control List from travelling abroad. It is useless to cry over the spilt milk we are now imposing so-called sanctions on people and screening loyalties of state functionaries. Didn't those laws exist when OBL was hiding under the nose of the army Garrison while we continued to lie before the whole world that former was not on Pakistan's soil.

State functionaries who were stooge in the hands of the government, have now come up with a "New Version of Islam and Patriotism" and licking boots to protect their seats.


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