Found guilty: Prison guard sacked over Dr Afridi’s Fox News interview

Tribal doctor had helped CIA track down al Qaeda chief in Abbottabad hideout.


Umer Farooq December 13, 2012

PESHAWAR: 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.

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COMMENTS (9)

Sexton Blake | 8 years ago | Reply

@Enlightened: Dear Enlightened, I like your term "clean chit. I was trying to think of a couple of words that would describe US procedures when they have carried out some unsavoury activity, which is the norm for them, and "clean chit" fits the bill exactly.. I could list many of those activities, but Express Tribune would not have the room. However, a small example is Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. America viciously attacked Iraq, and killed about a million innocent people some 11 years ago. It is my understanding they are still looking for weapons of mass destruction. To give the Americans credit, they have gone very quiet about the whole affair, but people like you give the US a "clean chit", and then go out of their way to castigate Pakistan when very little evidence is available for a relatively unimportant matter in comparison. In regard to Osama bin Laden, your so called "world's most notorious terrorist", who pales into insignificance when compared to President Bush, I am still waiting, I might even say with bated breath, for the US to produce solid, believable evidence that they assassinated OBL at Abbattobad. In regard to the guard and Dr. Afridi, I consider that they have got out of it lightly, compared to what the Americans would have done in a reverse situation. The US will have to become involved in some intensive diplomacy, not their strong point, if they wish to have Dr. Afridi released. I think we can forget the guard.

Mirza | 8 years ago | Reply

Fox interview was branded as a false and fabricated story to malign Pakistan. It was false just like the discovery of OBL in an army base and killing by the US.

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