Frontier Crimes Regulation Commissioner Munir Azam has called upon the political agent of Khyber Agency to bring forward evidence against Dr Shakil Afridi and prepare a case of his involvement in anti-state activities in collaboration with foreign intelligence agencies.
In his detailed verdict, Akram urged the political agent to consult “with the concerned intelligence agencies and prepare a case against the appellant, both under federal and provincial laws, for further proceedings in the competent court of law.”
Earlier, the assistant political agent Bara gave a 33-year jail term to Dr Afridi, former agency surgeon, and imposed a fine of Rs0.32 million against him for his suspected links with militant outfits. But that order was set aside by previous FCR commissioner Sahibzada Muhammad Anis on August 29, 2013, as he ordered the political agent to hold a fresh trial.
On March 15, FCR Commissioner Munir Azam reduced the sentence by 10 years and also reduced the fine by Rs0.1 million — with the removal of Article 123-A of Pakistan Penal Code.
The detailed order of the FCR commissioner explains how a retrial cannot be conducted by citing references from the law. In criminal adjudication, there are rare precedents of retrial even if an erroneous judgment is passed by the trial court, it added.
The order further reads that in this specific case, the defence counsels failed to give substantive grounds for setting aside the lower court’s decision. In fact, the defence counsels have not raised even a single point for the acquittal of the accused or reduction in sentence due to wrong application of law and facts, besides, the evidentiary value of intelligence reports and other witnesses were also not questioned.
Dr Afridi was arrested for helping foreign agencies track down Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in May 2011. However, charges were not framed against the accused in this case and instead he was sentenced in the case of supporting militant organisations in Khyber Agency.
Dr Afridi’s counsels have told media that they are going to challenge this order in the Fata Tribunal.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2014.