PESHAWAR: The FATA Tribunal has yet again sought the complete record of the Dr Shakil Afridi case.
While hearing a case where Afridi has challenged the reduction of his sentence by the Frontier Crimes Regulation commissioner on Thursday, the tribunal yet again issued a notice to Khyber Agency political agent to produce the complete record of Afridi’s case before the next hearing on September 9.
Tribunal chairman Sange Marjan and member Atif Nazeer were informed the convict was sentenced to 33 years in the slammer for being in cahoots with a banned outfit. Later the FCR commissioner overturned the sentence and heard the case again on tribunal directives, reducing only ten years from the original term. While Afridi is still in detention, his family approached the highest judicial body governing the tribal heartlands – FATA Tribunal – against the entire ordeal in June 2014.
The buck is being passed around ever since. The tribunal has ordered Khyber Agency PA to produce the case record multiple times but the requests have fallen on deaf ears.
Afridi’s woes do not end here. His family had earlier complained that they were disallowed from meeting him. On June 3, the Peshawar High Court had directed the provincial government to allow Afridi’s brother to meet him inside the Central Prison Peshawar as per jail laws.
Arrested for spying
The doctor was arrested for carrying out a fake vaccination campaign to hunt down Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden but convicted for ties with militants.
On March 20, 2014, Frontier Crimes Regulation Commissioner Munir Azam had asked the political agent of Khyber Agency to bring forward evidence Afridi and prepare a case of his involvement in anti-state activities in collaboration with foreign intelligence agencies.
On March 15, 2014, the FCR commissioner had maintained Afridi’s sentence, against charges of espionage for the CIA during the Bin Laden operation, granted by the Bara APA with the deletion of one section of charges – reducing the term to 23 years. The family knocked the tribunal’s door, stating the commissioner did not follow a previous tribunal directive asking him to write a detailed judgment and removing ambiguities.
On August 29, 2013, the late FCR commissioner Sahibzada Muhammad Anis overturned the sentence granted by the APA and directed the Khyber Agency PA to hear the case afresh.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2015.
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