Vague verdict: FCR commissioner reserves decision on Dr Shakil Afridi’s case

Published: February 16, 2014
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File photo of Shakil Afridi. PHOTO: AFP

File photo of Shakil Afridi. PHOTO: AFP

PESHAWAR: 

The Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) commissioner has reserved his decision on the review of an order given by the previous FCR commissioner in the case of Dr Shakil Afridi till March 15.

On December 18, the FATA Tribunal had remanded Dr Afridi’s case back to the FCR commissioner terming a previous decision taken by former commissioner Sahibzada Anis vague and self-contradictory. It also directed the commissioner to remove the ambiguity.

Dr Afridi, who was arrested in May 2011 for allegedly aiding the CIA track down al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, had approached the FATA Tribunal after a 33-year sentence he was awarded in a separate case was overturned and the case sent back to the political agent of Khyber Agency by former FCR commissioner Sahibzada Anis on August 29, 2013.

On Saturday, Dr Afridi’s lawyers Samiullah Afridi and Qamar Nadeem told media after the hearing that they had informed FCR Commissioner Captain (retd) Munir Azam of the irregularities in Anis’s decision which needed to be cleared.

According to Samiullah Afridi, the previous commissioner’s order did not clarify whether the political agent would hear Dr Afridi’s case afresh. The order also did not mention whether the jirga would be constituted with new members or whether the witnesses would record their statements in the presence of the accused or not, said Samiullah.

However, Iqbal Durrani, the counsel for Khyber Agency’s political administration, told Commissioner Azam that there was no ambiguity in the previous order and it clearly stated in writing how the political agent will hear the case.

Upon hearing arguments from both sides, Commissioner Azam reserved the decision till March 15 to remove ambiguities the FATA Tribunal and Dr Afridi’s lawyers pointed out.

Furthermore, Jamil Afridi, Dr Afridi’s brother, told media after the hearing that the doctor’s family met him on January 27, but his lawyers are not allowed to meet him. “I have submitted several applications to the home and tribal affairs department to allow him to meet his lawyers, but to no avail,” he said.

FATA Tribunal’s December 18 order issued by a three-member bench comprising Chairman Shah Wali Khan and members Akbar Khan and Pir Fida Muhammad reads, “The above discussion leads us to the conclusion that this case should go back to the FCR Commissioner with the direction to write a detailed and well-reasoned order as required by Section 53 of the FCR. And we order accordingly.”

“Perusal of the impugned order reveals that it is ambiguous and self-contradictory; the commissioner directs that political agent (PA) of Khyber Agency/sessions judge should try the case himself as per law and rewaj (custom) but it is not clear as to how the PA will try the case,” the order further states. The PA can either try the case as an agent under the rewaj in FCR or as a sessions judge under the Criminal Procedure Code.

The FATA Tribunal’s order explains that the offences Dr Afridi is charged with are included in the second schedule of the FCR, and so can exclusively be tried by the political agent under FCR through a council of elders.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • naeem khan Manhattan,Kansas.
    Feb 17, 2014 - 2:05AM

    It is amazing that the accused or the convicted Dr.Afridi is denied to see his lawyers, we see the colonial legacy live and well in the land of Pak, which professes to be a democratic country. Democracy in Pakistan, what a farce. How could any one be convicted of a crime who has helped to bring a criminal to justice, Osama had blood on his hands of innocent people in the US as well Pakistan. Ask those who has lost their loved ones in New York, Washington DC, Pennsylvania and several cities of Pakistan. Pakistanis are still paying the price in blood day in and day out for his brand of Islam which is being perpetuated by these over zealous,religious extremist in Pakistan. It should have been the Pakistani government and it’s intelligence agencies to track down this criminal and bring him to justice, I thought Pakistani tax payers are paying through their nose to support these intelligence agencies which did not do their job and in the end the Americans humiliated them and unfortunately the same very people are still there. In fairness to Dr.Afridi, he should be prosecuted for running a fake vaccination program for receiving certain amount of money from the Americans, I wonder how many Pakistanis are receiving money and divulging State Secrets. PS. most likely the moderator will not publish these comments because of fear from certain quarters.

    Recommend

  • naeem khan Manhattan,Kansas.
    Feb 17, 2014 - 2:05AM

    It is amazing that the accused or the convicted Dr.Afridi is denied to see his lawyers, we see the colonial legacy live and well in the land of Pak, which professes to be a democratic country. Democracy in Pakistan, what a farce. How could any one be convicted of a crime who has helped to bring a criminal to justice, Osama had blood on his hands of innocent people in the US as well Pakistan. Ask those who has lost their loved ones in New York, Washington DC, Pennsylvania and several cities of Pakistan. Pakistanis are still paying the price in blood day in and day out for his brand of Islam which is being perpetuated by these over zealous,religious extremist in Pakistan. It should have been the Pakistani government and it’s intelligence agencies to track down this criminal and bring him to justice, I thought Pakistani tax payers are paying through their nose to support these intelligence agencies which did not do their job and in the end the Americans humiliated them and unfortunately the same very people are still there. In fairness to Dr.Afridi, he should be prosecuted for running a fake vaccination program for receiving certain amount of money from the Americans, I wonder how many Pakistanis are receiving money and divulging State Secrets. PS. most likely the moderator will not publish these comments because of fear from certain quarters.

    Recommend

  • naeem khan Manhattan,Kansas.
    Feb 17, 2014 - 2:05AM

    It is amazing that the accused or the convicted Dr.Afridi is denied to see his lawyers, we see the colonial legacy live and well in the land of Pak, which professes to be a democratic country. Democracy in Pakistan, what a farce. How could any one be convicted of a crime who has helped to bring a criminal to justice, Osama had blood on his hands of innocent people in the US as well Pakistan. Ask those who has lost their loved ones in New York, Washington DC, Pennsylvania and several cities of Pakistan. Pakistanis are still paying the price in blood day in and day out for his brand of Islam which is being perpetuated by these over zealous,religious extremist in Pakistan. It should have been the Pakistani government and it’s intelligence agencies to track down this criminal and bring him to justice, I thought Pakistani tax payers are paying through their nose to support these intelligence agencies which did not do their job and in the end the Americans humiliated them and unfortunately the same very people are still there. In fairness to Dr.Afridi, he should be prosecuted for running a fake vaccination program for receiving certain amount of money from the Americans, I wonder how many Pakistanis are receiving money and divulging State Secrets. PS. most likely the moderator will not publish these comments because of fear from certain quarters.

    Recommend

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