In wake of tremendous pressure from unknown circles, Advocate Samiullah Afridi announced on Saturday his disassociation from the case of Dr Shakil Afridi, sentenced to 22 years of rigorous imprisonment under infamous laws of Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR).
Though Dr Afridi was trialed and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment under the FCR laws that exist in the Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA), he was in fact charged for extending support to Central Intelligence Agency in identifying al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden’s residence in Abbottabad. With Dr Afridi’s assistance, the CIA succeeded in killing Bin Laden and a few of his aides.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Samiullah said, “Due to frequent threats and warnings from banned militant groups and others, I have decided to disassociate myself from Dr Shakil’s case with immediate effect.”
Though Samiullah did not mention the name and identity of the banned militant groups and mysterious elements threatening him from time to time, it was learnt that he was being threatened by militants from banned militant organisations, including Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Lashkar-e-Islam. He was also receiving warnings by leaders and stalwarts of extremist religious forces, unhappy with the assassination of Bin Laden.
Replying to a question, Samiullah said, “I joined the panel of lawyers purely on humanitarian grounds. Dr Shakil was deprived of his basic human and legal rights of defense during trail before the political administration of Khyber Agency. During association with the case, I tried my best to ensure Dr Shakil received his rights.”
He said that Latif Afridi is leading the panel which comprises advocates Ijaz Mohmand and Nadeem Qamar. However, during the proceedings over the past two years, Samiullah was active before courts and judges and also in front of media squads. Such extraordinary activism on Samiullah’s part resulted in security problems for him.
About one year ago, Samiullah was forced to flee to United Arab Emirates. He returned after a few months and resumed his activities before Commissioner PHC and FCR Tribunal, which resulted in the reduction of Dr Shakil’s sentence from 33 years to 22 years.