Citing threats from die-hard militants,Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has asked federal authorities to shift Shakeel Afridi,the doctor who helped the CIA track Osama Bin Laden,to a safer place.
The provincial government wrote a letter to the federal authorities last week stressing the need to finalise a strategy to take custody of the doctor who had helped the US agencies in pinpointing bin Laden’s whereabouts in the garrison city of Abbottabad.
Afridi is currently being held at the central prison in Peshawar. The move comes in the background of the recent jail attacks in the province and repeated requests by Afridi’s lawyers.
“The central prison Peshawar is holding nearly 3,000 prisoners and 250 of them are confined on terror charges. These die-hard militants could attack Afridi,” the letter was quoted by the Express Tribune as saying.
It said intelligence agencies had repeatedly cautioned the provincial government against the possibility of an attack on Afridi,whose 33-year sentence was recently set aside by a Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) commissioner.
Afridi,in his forties,was sentenced to 33 years in jail on May 24,2012,after being convicted of treason over alleged ties to the banned Lashkar-e-Islam and not for working for the CIA. He was also fined Rs 320,000 (USD 3,500).
“We do not want a replay of the recent jail breaks in Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan. If the government does not consider our formal requests then the provincial government should not be blamed if any other incident of prison break takes place in Peshawar,” the letter said.
Malik Qasim,the Advisor on jails to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister,said provincial government had intelligence reports that Afridi might be attacked and harmed by prison inmates as there were a number of Taliban fighters imprisoned in Central Prison Peshawar.
Although the federal government is yet to officially respond to the requests set forth by the provincial government,the paper said the Interior ministry upon special directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is in process of finalising a plan to shift Afridi to the capital.