PPESHAWAR: The order of the assistant political agent Bara, convicting Dr. Shakil Afridi on four counts of anti-state activities and sentencing him to 33 years became available on Tuesday.
The order recommended that evidence of Dr. Afridi’s involvement in activities linking him to foreign intelligence agencies be produced before another relevant court for further proceedings under the law.
The five-page order containing the detailed judgement by Assistant Political Agent (APA) Nasir Khan, who is also Additional District Magistrate, Bara sub-division, Khyber Agency, pointed out that his court could not take into account the evidence obtained by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) regarding the involvement of the accused in acts associating him with foreign intelligence agencies due to lack of jurisdiction.
Though the verdict didn't elaborate this point, it was obvious that it meant the charges against Dr Shakil Afridi for working as a CIA informer and running the fake anti-polio vaccination campaign in Abbottabad for obtaining DNA samples from members of the Osama bin Laden family in a bid to track down the al-Qaeda founder.
This could mean trying him in another court in a district instead of the tribal areas and possibly in Abbottabad for these serious charges.
The punishment given to Dr Shakil Afridi is on the basis of his conviction for maintaining close links with the outlawed militant group, Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) led by Mangal Bagh and operating in Bara and Tirah valley of Khyber Agency.
He was charged with providing financial assistance to LI and treating its injured fighters. He was also charged with facilitating the LI attacks against the security forces. The order said the LI was waging war against the state of Pakistan and it had publicly slaughtered government officials and supporters, launched attacks on convoys of law-enforcement agencies and checkpoints and demolished public properties and schools numbering 87 in Bara area.
The order regarding the state versus Dr Shakil, son of Mewa Khan belonging to the Malikdinkhel Afridi tribe in Bara, Khyber Agency, noted that the accused was charged under sections 121-A, 123, 123-A and 124-A of the PPC under the 11-Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR). It said the accused was produced before the court of APA Bara for further proceedings under the provisions of section 11 of FCR 1901 (Amended) 2011 after completion of investigation into the case.
According to the order, Dr Shakil Afridi was arrested on May 23, 2011 by the political administration of Khyber Agency on the basis of reports that he was involved in anti-state activities. It said the intelligence agencies had received reports that the accused was in league with the Mangal Bagh-led LI and members of the general public too had made complaints against him.
The order said the accused from May 24, 2011 was interrogated by the JIT, which normally includes officials from the intelligence agencies ISI, MI and IB, for five days. It added that later he was handed over to an intelligence agency for further probe. It said his trial in the court of APA Bara began on May 11, 2012.
The order said the case was referred to the counsel of elders, or jirga, for inquiry on May 12, 2012. It claimed the jirga gave ample opportunity to the accused for his defence. Finally, the order said the accused was produced in the APA Bara's court and given a chance to answer the charges against him.
Explaining Dr Shakil Afridi's links with the LI, the order said the JIT in its report maintained that he gave Rs2 million to the banned militant group while serving at the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital, Dogra, in Bara area and provided medical assistance there to the LI's commanders Said Noor Malikdinkhel, Hazrat from the Sepah tribe, Wahid from the Shalobar Qambarkhel tribe and others.
The order said the accused was found guilty on all four counts and sentenced to 33 years imprisonment and fined Rs320,000. It added that all the sentences would run consecutively and the conviction should commence from the date of his arrest on May 23, 2011.