A Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi, who assisted the CIA in the hunt down of Osama Bin Laden, got his thirty-three-year sentence reduced by ten years by a tribal Pakistani court. The doctor was arrested and put on trail by the Pakistani officials soon after the Abbottabad mission by the US Navy Seal that killed Osama Bin Laden. He was accused of sedition against Pakistan and has been held in Peshawar. It is widely believed that the angry Pakistani intelligence has pinned him down because of his help in the killing of the Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
US official have demanded the release of the doctor, but the Pakistani officials have turned a blind eye towards any communication in regards to Afridi. Dr. Afridi, a head of health in Khyber Agency tribal community was accused of helping the CIA by passing DNA information of Abbottabad residence to track down Osama Bin Laden. Abbottabad is few miles away from Pakistan’s chief military base where Laden was executed.
It was reported that the American intelligence narrowed down a few areas in Abbottabad in their Osama search. Dr. Afridi planned a fake vaccination program for Abbottabad citizens and in the process collected DNA samples of thousands in the area to match with the DNA set of Osama bin Laden that the US intelligence already had. Then-US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had confirmed that the doctor had work with the CIA in Bin Laden DNA search. Pakistan had previously denied any connection with the Laden hiding and asserted several times that he was not in Pakistan.
US officials are angry at the Pakistani Jury, for sentencing the doctor as a revenge. US has also threatened to cut billions of dollars in aid that Pakistan is enjoying for decades now and which account for nearly three billion dollars a year according to he financial funding reports. Terrorist group Lakshar-e-Islam that is from the Abbottabad area had kidnapped Dr. Afridi in 2008 before releasing him for a ransom of one million Pakistani rupees. But the Pakistani officials have accused Afridi of having links with the same terrorist group.
Coincidentally, Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law is on trial in the Manhattan Court for killings Americans and others on September 11, 2001. The judge said that the jury has intangible evidence to prosecute Abu Ghaith who is the spokesman for the Al Qaeda and was reportedly a right hand to the deceased Al Qaeda leader.
This week an intelligence website claimed that one of the reasons US Government refused to release the dead photos of Osama Bin Laden because of the multiple bullets shot during the mission. After the incident in 2011, considering the fact that Al Qaeda would make the Laden burial-place a shrine, the US government decided to bury his dead body at sea.
The tribal judge involved in the Pakistani doctor trial has also reduced the penalty by hundred thousand Pakistani rupees. The doctor’s lawyers are trying hard to acquit him in the case that has been reported as a fabricated one placed by the Pakistani official to allegedly avenge Osama Bin Laden’s execution.
By Vikas Vemuri