shakeel-afridi-AFP-670
This photograph taken on July 22, 2010 shows Dr Shakeel Afridi attending a Malaria control campaign in the Khyber tribal region. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD, Sept 11: The ISI rubbished as ‘fiction’ on Tuesday a reported interview by a US TV channel of jailed Dr Shakeel Afridi, allegedly involved in tracing Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

“There is no evidence to suggest that Fox News correspondent had interviewed Dr Afridi,” a senior security official said after preliminary investigations.

“It is all concocted and baseless,” he said as he laughed off the claims made in the interview. “It’s amusing how well he (as reported in the interview) learnt about ISI operations from the cell in which he was kept blindfolded for eight months, as claimed by him,” he added.

The jail in which he has been lodged has ‘jammers’ that block cellphone signals, another official said.

An ISPR official said the move had been made to undermine the prospects of resumption of the Pakistan-US Strategic Dialogue.

The dialogue is expected to resume following improvement in ties between the two countries since July 3 when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said sorry for the death of Pakistani troops in an attack on Salala border posts last November.

In his supposed interview, Dr Afridi had spoken about his detention in an ISI facility in Islamabad during which he got a chance to interact with other militants who were also being interrogated there.

Dr Afridi supposedly also told the interviewer how much the ISI was hostile to the US.

However, Fox News correspondent Dominic Di-Natale in a tweet posting said: “We asked key questions for ID purposes based on a track record of details. Then I directly spoke for 40 mins w/him on Saturday.” He refused to speak to Dawn and instead suggested contacting the Fox News public relations department.

He told a friend that he had exchanged a number of messages with Dr Afridi through an intermediary for weeks before his telephonic conversation with him last weekend. —Staff Reporter

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