PESHAWAR: The Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata) tribunal has not received the case record of Dr Shakil Afridi from Khyber Agency’s political administration despite a lapse of five months.
Afridi was earlier handed a 33-year sentence by Khyber Agency’s assistant political agent for having links with banned militant organisations after he was arrested for conducting a fake vaccination campaign in order to track down Osama bin Laden. The Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) commissioner upheld the sentence after which Afridi challenged the verdict in the tribunal.
The tribunal consisted of its chairman Shah Wali Khan and members Akbar Khan and Pir Muhammad Fida. Dr Shakil’s counsel Qamar Nadeem appeared before the tribunal but no progress could be made in absence of the record, and the hearing was adjourned till November 20.
“This was the fifth hearing of the case and the record has not been produced as yet. We fail to understand the reason behind the delay,” Nadeem told The Express Tribune.
From one door to another
Late FCR commissioner Sahibzada Muhammad Anis had overturned the sentence handed by Khyber Agency APA and directed Khyber Agency PA to hear the case afresh on August 29, 2013. Shakil appealed against the transfer and filed a review petition on which the FATA tribunal redirected the case to Anis on December 18, 2013.
The FCR commissioner had reduced the sentence to 23 years on March 15, 2014. Afridi returned to the FATA tribunal saying that the FCR commissioner could not follow the tribunal’s directives and remove ambiguities from the case.
Shakil’s brother Jamil Afridi said that his family has knocked all doors and filed several applications with the home and tribal affairs departments requesting permission to meet Shakil, but to no avail. Jamil added that Shakil’s wife and children had met him a few months ago in prison, but neither he nor their lawyer is allowed to meet Shakil who has been in prison for the last three years.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2014.