LAHORE – As Washington is pressing Islamabad hard to release Dr Shakeel Afridi, an undercover CIA-agent sentenced to 33-years imprisonment on treason charges, more details are emerging about the anti-State activities of the corrupt and depraved doctor.
A senior official in the Interior Ministry claimed that Dr Afridi had helped Taliban launch terror attacks against key government installations to win the ‘confidence’ of the terrorists, which ultimately helped him make inroads into Taliban ranks.
The investigators have irrefutable evidence to prove the involvement of Dr Afridi in several terror strikes in which he had financed Taliban to carry out suicidal attacks against security forces, State institutions, and pro-government tribal leaders.
The sources said that the Americans are worried that Dr Afridi could reveal secrets of the CIA to the Pakistani intelligence agencies.
Therefore, the Americans are pressing the Pakistan government to release the double-agent.
‘Shakeel Afridi was charged with financing Lashkar-e-Islam and treating its injured fighters; facilitating LI’s attacks against the security forces;waging war against the State whereby LI had slaughtered government officials, launched attacks on convoys of law-enforcement agencies and check points and demolished public properties and schools in the area’,a top official in the Interior Ministry said requesting anonymity.
According to the official, who helped prepare Joint Investigations Report, Shakeel Afridi was also charged with preaching the ideology of the defunct organisation publicly and displaying disloyalty towards the State – the government of Pakistan.
The conviction was handed out under clauses 121, 123, 123-A (1) and 124-A of the FCR.
Shakeel Afridi has been convicted by orders of the Assistant Political Agent Bara on four counts of anti-State activities for which he has been sentenced to 33 years imprisonment in accordance with the provision of Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) and the tribal traditions.
Reportedly, the punishment is based on his close association and terrorism based linkages with Mangal Bagh-led Lashkar-e-Islam, which is active in Bara and Tirah Valley.
In stating its verdict the court has also recommended that the evidence, gathered by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) relating to Afridi’s clandestine liaison with the foreign intelligence services be produced before another relevant court for further proceedings under the law.
This has left open the door for trial of Shakeel Afridi for collaborating with foreign intelligence agencies in connection with the Abbottabad raid.
The punishment meted out is in line with the tribal customs whereby his case was referred to a Jirga of elders for inquiry on May 12 2012; who went through the record of the case and also contacted the people in general in order to find out and ascertain the involvement of the accused in charges framed against him. They gave ample opportunity to the accused to defend himself.
On completion of the inquiry the accused was produced before the Assistant Political Agent, who is also Additional District Magistrate.
Exploitation of Afridi’s clandestine services by the CIA is against all norms of statecraft whereby it chose to organise clandestine espionage networks in Pakistani territory by bypassing State institutions and directly establishing contacts with an individual to serve its own ends in return for money.
Afridi ‘s CIA collaboration landed a serious dent in the credibility of the immunisation programmes in Pakistan and elsewhere which was a cynical attempt to hijack the credibility that public health workers have built up over decades with local populations and thus endangered the status of the fraught polio eradication campaign , which over the past decades has been challenged in the majority- Muslim areas in Africa and South Asia, over beliefs that polio vaccination is actually a cover campaign to harm Muslim children.
In castigating Pakistan for taking Afridi before law for collaborating with a foreign intelligence agency, US leadership has to deliberate if they would themselves condone such uncalled for clandestine espionage cooperation on their soil.
‘Shakeel Afridi minted hundreds of thousands of dollars by spying to Americans in targeting militants in drone strikes’, another official said, seeking anonymity.
The official, who also interrogated Dr Afridi in the recent past, revealed that Dr Shakeel Afridi had confessed to a Joint Investigations Team (JIT) that he had also spied for Pakistani Taliban about Pak Army troops movement in the insurgency-infested northwest Pakistan.
The investigators had also got a strong evidence to prove that Shakeel Afridi held several meetings with the leaders of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the suburb of Abbottabad.
Security experts say that CIA is maintaining double standard by supporting Dr Shakeel Afridi whereas the Americans do not tolerate such incidents on their own soil.
‘Dr Afridi violated the law of the land and committed treason. He belittled the profession of medicine and there is worldwide criticism. In US alone around 100 NGOs protested against him for abusing this noble profession’, they said.
According to independent observers, ISI was deliberately sidelined by CIA in efforts to hunt OBL. Pakistan was let down by our allies; especially by US.
They (Americans) in fact proved our ‘foes in friends’, they added.