Another death foretold?

Published: May 31, 2012
The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto

The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto

Considering how very incensed the Deep State gets the more you hold a mirror to it; and being conscious of the sudden torrent of vile abuse and, worse, dastardly and outlandish allegations presently being heaped upon yours truly, I wanted to write about dog shows and fat Labradors this week. However, this is the Land of the Pure, where ever newer horrors are visited upon us every single minute of every single day, some couched in words. All of them, you can be sure, spoken from on high: as if the sermonisers were standing on some particularly elevated moral ground, with us mortals crawling somewhere down there.

To come straight to the point, the following words in Lt.-Gen. Asad Durrani’s article “The second oldest profession” in this newspaper of May 29 sent a very, very cold chill down my spine. Said the general: “I do not know if Afridi should have been tried by a jirga or in a court of law, under tribal decree or under the country’s penal code, but I do know that for him, it is not yet all over.” And as if that was not disturbing enough: “I think Dr Afridi will get another chance to administer a polio vaccine; the next time in the Promised Land.” I ask you.

Who does not know that Dr Shakil Afridi, the man who helped our ally in the War on Terror find Osama bin Laden a few hundred metres from the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, Abbottabad Cantonment, is a ‘Dead Man Walking’? He is in Peshawar Jail, which is as vulnerable to attack by the mighty Taliban as Bannu Jail where they first bribed their way in; then garlanded and honoured General Musharraf’s convicted attacker, Adnan Rasheed (who was sentenced to death) with a dastarbandi (adorning him with a turban), and then made video recordings of their great feat, rehearsed firing and all. We have to note that not a single person was even injured in that Great Escape in which nearly 400 prisoners, some of them dangerous terrorists, escaped. So, where’s the problem in ‘rubbing out’ Shakil Afridi in Peshawar Jail?

However, for a former head of the ISI to say almost gleefully what he said, Durrani certainly deserves mention. Specially, and I say this as someone who lauded his stand on the Mehrangate scandal: admitting that as a Pakistan army general he should not have done what he did, being such a senior person. Indeed, what he said about Afridi is way out of court.

And now to the jailbreak. There is not a squeak out of the leaders and the spokesmen of the Ghairat Brigades about that catastrophe. Remember that we know that Adnan Rasheed worked for Amjad Farooqi, who in turn worked for Abu Faraj al Libi and is also known to have been a member of these extremist organisations at various times: Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan; Harkatul Ansar; Harkatul Mujahideen; Harkatul Jihad-al-Islami in which he is said to have been this group’s pointman with al Qaeda’s International Islamic Front. Quite a beauty, what? Yet, not a word about the jailbreak and its links with al Qaeda, especially when one of the prisoners who escaped was accused of plotting to kill the then chief of army staff himself!

The only emphasis is on Afridi, and please note this, who has not been charged with treason, but who has been convicted on vague charges of colluding with Mangal Bagh’s Lashkar-i-Islam, becoming the very first person to be jailed for such crimes. And that too for 33 years! He was not found ‘involved in clandestine work on behalf of a foreign power’, as stated by Durrani.

A short aside: a reader sent me the following email (words mine): “Why were 33 years handed down to Shakil Afridi for exposing a terrorist, and 20 kanals of choicest land with a custom-built madrasa at H-11 handed over to another terrorist? Whither the blood of 12 SSG commandos/Rangers killed in the Lal Masjid operation?” I could add, whither the blood of the three policemen and two Rangers killed earlier while the Lal Masjid/Jamia Hafsa Mafia were openly flouting the law; occupying government property; calling for the overthrow of the state; kidnapping and beating up lay people; setting video shops on fire as far away as Bhara Kahu; and generally holding the people of Islamabad and environs to ransom? Yet, not a sound out of the sermonisers on this either. It is as if Shakil Afridi is the only horror around, and his ‘conviction’ is the be-all and end-all for Pakistan and its ‘sovereignty’.

And now for dog shows and fat Labradors. The ‘show’ standard for Labs, is, literally, ‘fat’ and heavy dogs. My handsome Henry, and his mother, the quite beautiful Bella aka ‘Kishmish of Wah’, wrestle with each other and run up and down the field at my home for hours on end. They swim and try to catch the fish (idiots!) in my spring-fed pool at least ten times a day in this heat. The result is extremely muscular, active, happy dogs; not fat! So, for these two no more ‘showing’.

I might add that this is not to take away from some fine kennels with great Lab breeds in Pakistan. Some names that immediately spring to mind of excellent breeders are those of that great gentleman, Colonel Kenneth M Roy, the president of the Kennel Club of Pakistan; Babar and Muhammad Nasrullah Khan of Daska, and Syed Tasveer Shah of Lahore. Well done all. But I and mine are out of it! Don’t want my dogs to die painful deaths when their time comes, as a direct result of hauling so much weight about!

Have to end on Shakil Afridi: This country must brace itself for a horrific fallout if the man is harmed whilst in jail. But mayhap the time has come to end this whole charade: let’s just tell the world to go to hell, and be done with it. We have many, many ‘bums’ after all.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (36)

  • SaneVoice
    Jun 1, 2012 - 12:04AM

    Shafi Sahib,

    Another great article, I did read Gen Durrani Article and was completely lost for words. I was reading Ejaaz Haiders Article the other day was thinking exactly the same thing.

    Keep up the good work and May God Keep you safe for shinning light on the Deep State


  • Mustafa Kamal
    Jun 1, 2012 - 12:28AM

    Wait!! Did our Chief Justice took Suo-moto of the Bannu Jail break in which high valued taliban were released??


  • Haris Chaudhry
    Jun 1, 2012 - 12:29AM

    Well said.. and I very much doubt that anyone is listening !

    I do believe that our ghairatmands together with our khakis (in all their forms) are on a path in a delusional state of mind to keep playing the double game with US – Take weapons, loans, aid and trade but keep fanning the hatred against its interests directly and indirectly and in supporting those that want to wage war against the US’ interests.

    I suspect that the game will be over for all sooner than later.

    As if picking a fight with Indians and Americans wasnt enough for these ostriches (with the head buried deep in sand), that they now want to invite the wrath of the 42 NATO countries and expect that this double game will go forever.

    Every major news publication globally has an article on a daily basis about the Pakistan’s double games but yet somehow Pakistanis are failing to understand the extent of the loss of patience the world has experiencing with its duplicituous policies.

    I find no hope.



  • Babloo
    Jun 1, 2012 - 12:30AM

    Multiple choice question.
    Dr Afridi has being sentenced to 33 years by the political agent in FATA for
    1. Treason
    2. Un-authorized vaccination campaign
    3. Corruption while in government service
    4. Womanizer and moral turpitude
    5. Colluding with militants of Lashkar-e-Islami
    6. He was a Al-Qaida agent
    7. None of the above

    Remember, helping catch Osama is not one of the valid answers.


  • Sunil
    Jun 1, 2012 - 12:33AM

    Actually I did not get the full import of what Durrani was saying till you pointed it out. You do have an eye sir ! Can’t believe the death threat being issued to Afridi – for the crime of exposing Osama from under ISI protection.

    Two-faced, much!Recommend

  • antanu
    Jun 1, 2012 - 12:35AM

    <p>Death warrant of dr.afridi was signed by US through disclosing his identity…would any one ask US why it did so. Dr.afridi became a dead man walking the moment his name was uttered by US.</p>Recommend

  • Logic Europe
    Jun 1, 2012 - 12:44AM

    awards to terrorists recommended by judiciary Has CJ replaced army chiefs and presidents


  • John B
    Jun 1, 2012 - 1:00AM

    He not only foretold (blackmailed) Afiridi’s death but also threatened US that there are many ISI spies in US in different places, (so watch out), as if US did not know.

    Only in PAK a confessor to a treason can walk free from the witness stand and climb a pulpit for a sermon.


  • Butt
    Jun 1, 2012 - 1:34AM

    Afridi is a traitor and has been justly sentenced. This Alert should be removed as it is anti-Pakistan as this is a Pakistani newspaper.


  • Jim
    Jun 1, 2012 - 1:49AM

    As always, spoken from the heart..but a cry in the wilderness. Most of your countrymen have their brains too addled with religion and too retarded to get your point. We feel for you. You are wasted in Pakistan. Get out while you can.


  • Batman
    Jun 1, 2012 - 2:33AM

    Another absurd article by kamran shafi. good job


  • sadia
    Jun 1, 2012 - 2:38AM

    I suspect the author holds a dual nationality.


  • Mirza
    Jun 1, 2012 - 3:12AM

    @John B:
    I fully agree with your comments. Another hit out of the ballpark by KS and ET. Thanks for that.
    I read the general’s rant against the enemies of terrorists and in favor of a fair trial for OBL and bestowing the highest honor to first living person Afia. My comments were perhaps bitter truth and were not published. I am glad that the ISI chief, the Gen. has let us see the mindset of the army officers. How they have been above the constitution and the darlings of SC judges. In every country the constitution is a holy book except Pakistan where multiple acts of high treason are always rewarded with perks for life.


  • @plarkin
    Jun 1, 2012 - 3:26AM

    As usual you have the wrong end of the stick and as usual you won’t print this.. Clearly the reference to the “promised land” means the United States. I hope the General sues you for libel.


  • Mahakaalchakra
    Jun 1, 2012 - 3:38AM


    None of the above.

    He was punished for aiming to cash $25 million (almost 2 billion 40 crore Pakistan rupees) booty check from USA on the head of Osama Bin Laden which the Khaki thought that the check of $25 million rightly belong to their tribe. How dare bludi civilians?


  • Khan jr
    Jun 1, 2012 - 3:48AM

    So he is a “womaniser and likes alcohol”. These were the attributes of at least of our three coup d’état presidents and two other democratically elected ones. One of them even managed to sell Pakistanis to the Americans for US dollars. So afridi has the attributes that should gain him the highest office In the land of the pure and not a crummy jail!


  • ipityu
    Jun 1, 2012 - 3:53AM

    @Butt: what about lal musjid cleric who was involved in terrorist activities against state of pakistan? 10 military personnel were killed but nobody in Pakistan even raised voices against it. On top of it your CJ awarded them prime land to build madarasa. Wow~ shouldn’t those traitor be hanged till death for treason. afridi’s crime is nothing compared to cleric’s from lal masjid.


  • Ahmad
    Jun 1, 2012 - 4:14AM

    I find it quite amazing that Mr. Asad Durrani is being provided space by the ET to air his views and to exercise his constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech and expression, this being the same man who has now admitted on record to breaking that very constitution. Perhaps Mr. Durrani is ticked off that the Mr. Afridi helped disclose to the world what the Pakistan Army wanted kept secret. Let it be noted that Ziauddin Butt accused then DG-IB Brigadier Ejaz Shah of building the house that OBL was found in. That charge however was not considered serious enough for the SC to form another (useless) commission to probe. The complete manufactured farce that was memogate apparently deserved more attention.

    “…admitting that as a Pakistan army general he should not have done what he did, being such a senior person.”

    This is nothing to be lauded. He has merely gone down the very well trodden path of most of his predecessors who grow a conscience the second they retire, but justify their actions by saying the same line over and over: “We were only following orders”.


  • Liberal
    Jun 1, 2012 - 4:26AM

    Deep state,Deep state,Deep state.Please some body advise Mr Shafi thay we readers are now getting bored.Please atleast write about something new atleast once every month.Week after week with due respect is targeted at deep state.I cant believe i sent an appreciation email to Mr Shafi 4 years back for his op-ed when he used to write for another paper but some how for the last couple of years it is all about deep state.Sir your obsession with this word is driving away your regular readers.


  • Faesal
    Jun 1, 2012 - 4:32AM

    Anywhere in the world, Any citizen of the country works for the foreign intelligence for whatsoever case, He gets death sentence. I dont know whats the fuss about. Why is it so hard for our liberals and trollers from across the border to get it.

    Had Dr. Afridi helped Pakistani government and agencies, I would have too voiced for him to receive greatest civilian medal of country.


  • sundar
    Jun 1, 2012 - 5:32AM

    How many of the average Pakistanis knew or acknowledge that Dr Afridi was not charged with treason but for supposedly associating with terror group? Unbelievable country with misplaced priorities.


  • Venky
    Jun 1, 2012 - 7:53AM

    @ Babloo

    I thought choice questions will have only 4 choices , the fourth being, none or all of the above. I suggest

    Dr Afridi has being sentenced to 33 years by the political agent in FATA for

    1.. Corruption while in government service
    2.. Womanizer and moral turpitude
    3. He was a Al-Qaida agent
    4. All of the above


  • Babloo
    Jun 1, 2012 - 8:29AM

    Afridi was charged because
    1. He was a terrorist helper ( thats for international consumption )
    2. He co-operated and participated in the plot to capture the jewel/strategic asset : Thats for Domestic consumption.

    That strategy works in a world where there is no internet, no free media and only government propaganda.


  • Mahakaalchakra
    Jun 1, 2012 - 8:52AM

    Had Dr Afrdi truly been a terrorist or a terrorist-sympathizer, he would have been a free man in Pakistan.

    The deep state is playing a shallow game to show USA that this guy was helping those who are out to get NATO men in Afghanistan.


  • David Smith
    Jun 1, 2012 - 12:26PM

    Isn’t it ironic that a General who was actively working against his own country’s democratic system should suggest the hereafter for someone who was probably not even aware of the end objective of his work. This is not to defend Dr. Afridi, who must account for, in a fair trial, why was he involved with a foreign intelligence agency to run an unauthorized vaccination program, but to underline the mind set of some of Pakistan’s generals who think they are above the law.


  • Butt
    Jun 1, 2012 - 12:38PM

    @Haris Chaudhry:
    I fully agree that even here in China there is any everyday news of Pakistan with a bad state. Something has to be done immediately to reverse this trend.


  • Billy
    Jun 1, 2012 - 2:12PM

    @ Sadia: Absolute crap! Your conceit deludes you into believing what you said. I simply cannot fathom, what makes people think this. If the author holds dual nationality, it surely has to be Pakistan and Pakistan!!!

    @Liberal: cant agree more with you! Shafi Sab, you are an excellent writer but losing on your readers by targeting the ‘Deep State” all the time. Write about something else, even if it remains to be the biggest problem of this country.


  • Gill
    Jun 1, 2012 - 2:28PM

    Thank you sir for speaking with clarity and on front foot !


  • Haq
    Jun 1, 2012 - 4:00PM

    @Sadia @Billy @Liberal If it (the Deep State) remains ‘the biggest problem of this country’ the writer would be letting his readers down if he did not continuously shine the light on the ‘biggest problem’! Sir, please go on regardless of what people say … and watch your back … May Allah keep you in His care.


  • Lala Gee
    Jun 1, 2012 - 5:36PM

    A very similar analogy exists between the case of Dr. Afridi and Dr. Afia. Dr. Afia was blamed by CIA for her alleged involvement with Al-Qaida. She was kidnapped along with her 3 minors from Karachi and remained disappeared for more than 5 years. Eventually she was discovered in Bighram US Airbase in Afghanistan when her presence there was disclosed by a British Journalist. She was expatriated to US for trial there. The charges framed against her were that she snatched the gun of a by-standing soldier and tried to kill her interrogator while she was being interrogated in the Airbase. There were absolutely no charges of terrorism or working for Al-Qaida framed against her. The court served her 86 years prison time for allegedly pointing a snatched gun towards her interrogation officer, an incident in which no one was killed, injured, or even got a scratch. No one, neither jury, nor judge, nor media, nor public asked the question why she was there in the first place and how legal was her captivity of 5 years without any trial along with her 3 innocent minors, and how well she was being treated before the incident occurred.

    I have no problem if the author writes in support of Dr. Afridi, whose actions, apart from being illegal, eventually proved to be helpful in an incident that was a major nightmare for the Pakistani nation and the government. The security establishment was put in an extremely odd situation. If they act to protect the sovereignty of the state then risk the hostility of a super power, and if not, then become the laughing stock of the whole world. My problem starts when the author shows only one side of the coin without even a mention of the other side.


  • Lala Gee
    Jun 1, 2012 - 5:53PM

    @ Author:

    Although I have different opinion on Dr. Afridi’s case, I totally agree with your point of view about the Lal Masjid fiasco. However, you end up criticizing the same institution more often than not who took the courage to take on these religious hooligans, although too late, I might add.


  • Lala Gee
    Jun 1, 2012 - 7:15PM


    Multiple choice question.

    Dr Afridi has being sentenced to 33 years by the political agent in FATA for

    Treason (YES)
    Un-authorized vaccination campaign (YES)
    Corruption while in government service (YES)
    Womanizer and moral turpitude (PERHAPS, MAY BE, DON’T KNOW)
    Colluding with militants of Lashkar-e-Islami (YES)
    He was a Al-Qaida agent (PERHAPS, MAY BE, DON’T KNOW)
    None of the above

    Remember, helping catch Osama is not one of the valid answers. (YOU ARE RIGHT, BECAUSE HE WAS NOT TOLD WHO WAS HIS TARGET)


  • Patriot
    Jun 2, 2012 - 12:23AM

    Writer, I changed 4 newspapers following you these 15 years! Don’t ever let me down! There are many Ejaz Haiders but only one Kamran Shafi. Keep on fighting for Pakistan’s soul, please. And if I can help in any way please say.


  • Aamir
    Jun 2, 2012 - 1:34AM

    I always enjoy reading your articles Shafi saheb, thanks again for speaking out against THE biggest problem of Pakistan, the Deep State. Dont worry about the Liberal(s), they are just undercover right wingers lol.

    I agree with you on almost all the issues you highlight. Obviously theres complete darkness on these issues on our vibrant electronic media. However Shafi saheb, I will not support this CJ even if you asked me to. (CJ bit was out of context but I had to say that since I just dont like my CJ no more)


  • K B Kale
    Jun 2, 2012 - 12:02PM

    I have always admired your articles and this one also is a masterpiece.
    Take care of yourself. Recommend

  • Seema
    Jun 4, 2012 - 1:25AM

    @Aamir well said about so called liberals and CJ.

    @KS well done, plz continue with your efforts to wake up our nation, who is delude by so called Ghairat.


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