Dr Shakil Afridi


This is with reference to news that “Pakistani diplomats abroad find it hard to explain government’s stance on Dr Shakil Afridi” (02 Jun).

A controversy is going on account of punishment awarded to Dr Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani doctor, who allegedly ran a fake vaccine programme being on the pay roll of CIA in tracking Osama bin Laden, still to be proved whether these DNA tests at all were helpful or not.

He was arrested after the raid on Osama bil Laden, tried under FCR and sentenced to 33 years of imprisonment. Abbottabad does not fall in the jurisdiction of any agency. The government must explain as to why he was allowed to be tried under FCR.

He was tried on act of treason that is not understandable at all. Gen Musharraf in the line of fire has admitted that he handed over people as per the demand of USA and received handsome money in return.

Was his act lawful and did not attract provisions of treason? Dr Shakil Afridi was paid for doing something for the same country, then why this distinction? In fact, Dr Shakil should have been awarded the highest award for helping CIA in getting closer to track Osama bil Laden, who was declared the greatest terrorist and US waged a war against him in Afghanistan to track and kill him but failed and killed thousands of people.

Not only this, the war entered in our homeland killing thousands of innocent people and equal number of soldiers. We are still paying the price.

Dr Afridi did what our ISI failed to deliver. He was operating in the close proximity of Pakistan Military Academy with huge troop’s concentration. He can be asked as to why he did not take in to confidence our own agency.

The answer is very simple. If he had done that he would have been taught lesson of his life; secondly, being part of CIA he could not dare perform role of double agent. The US along with allies is rightly perturbed on the sentence awarded to Dr Afridi and they believe this was a harsh punishment. This issue has further aggravated the situation and relations between Pakistan and US shall further deteriorate.

The government’s stance that he was tried for his links with militant organization and not for CIA is a unique logic. If it was known to militant organization, he could have been easily eliminated by them because militants have the ability to strike any target anywhere at any time suiting to their convenience.

Pakistan is running short of time. We must hurry up and take proper line of direction before it gets too late. Closure of NATO supply route has not resulted in starving NATO troops in Afghanistan; they are being fed as usual except the cost has increased.

Who is the loser? Not the US but Pakistan. State decisions are not taken on emotions but on ground realities. Sooner or later, Dr Afridi, like Raymond Davis, shall be flown to USA. Won’t it be better we take the credit to undo the wrong? Dr Afridi should be regarded as a hero as he helped Pakistan and its intelligence agencies in catching Osama bil Laden.