Setting aside Khyber Agency assistant political agent’s (Bara) decision of sentencing Dr Shakil Afridi to 33 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine, Peshawar Commissioner Sahibzada Muhammad Anees on Thursday directed the political agent to retry the accused.
“The office of assistant political agent (APA) lacks the power to award 30 years of imprisonment and heading the trial under such clauses of Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) that were framed against Dr Shakil Afridi,” the Peshawar commissioner said while announcing the short order.
Through this order, the commissioner announced admitting Afridi’s appeal and setting aside the decision of the assistant political agent.
The appeal against Bara APA’s May 23, 2012 decision was filed by Jamil Afridi on June 1, 2012, in the court of the Peshawar commissioner, who leads the FCR court for tribal region.
During this period, the court heard arguments in favour and against the appeal and reserved the judgement.
Anees announced the decision through a short order in presence of Samiullah Afridi and other lawyers.
Though the APA tried and sentenced Afridi on the charges of his links with an alleged terrorist group headed by Mangal Bagh, in fact he was punished for extending help to the CIA in finding out the residence of al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden.
Soon after the Abbottabad raid, Afridi, who served as the Khyber Agency surgeon, was picked up by personnel of law enforcing and secret agencies on May 23, 2012.
He was handed over to the Khyber political administration on May 11, 2012 and tried under the FCR in the court of assistant political agent of Bara tehsil.
Afridi has been detained in Peshawar Central Jail since his sentencing.
The US officials and several organisations have been demanding his release and extradition from Pakistan. In this respect, high-ranking US authorities have held several rounds of talks with Pakistani authorities.
Senior lawyer Latif Afridi welcomed the commissioner’s decision, saying it could help improve Pakistan’s relations with the US and combat growing trends of violence in the country.
Is he not being tried for false cases? His fault was that he leaked information to CIA that led them to Osama. Was this treason? If so, how? Was ISI really shielding OBL?
Probably the initial demand for Aafia's repatriation.
This was expected. Perhaps he will leave for the West in lieu of Dr. Afia.
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