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Dr Shakil on hunger strike in jail

November 29, 2012


Shakil Afridi talks with people outside a building at an unknown location in Pakistan.—Reuters Photo
Shakil Afridi talks with people outside a building at an unknown location in Pakistan. — Photo by Reuters/File

PESHAWAR, Nov 28: Dr Shakil Afridi, who allegedly helped the American CIA in tracking down Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, has gone on hunger strike demanding provision of different facilities to him inside the Peshawar Central Prison, according to sources.

The prison authorities were tight-lipped on the issue and declined to meet mediapersons. However, an official, who did not want to be named, confirmed that Dr Shakil went on hunger strike on Monday. He had not been taking any food, he added.

It has been learnt that the jail authorities have withdrawn certain facilities from Dr Shakil, who has been in solitary confinement, owing to security reasons, after publishing of his controversial interview by Fox News in Sept. Since then the authorities placed a ban on his meeting with his family members as well as his counsel.

The official said that Dr Shakil had now been confined to a room situated inside a small compound in the prison and the facility of a walk was also withdrawn from him. The authorities searched his room regularly so that he could not keep any objectionable item including cellular phone with him, he added.

An on duty official of the prison, when contacted, expressed ignorance about hunger strike by Dr Shakil.

Advocate Samiullah Afridi, counsel of Dr Shakil, told Dawn that he himself had heard about hunger strike started by his client.

He said that he had gone to prison to meet the officials to confirm the news. However, he added, the officials declined to meet him.

Dr Afridi, a former agency surgeon, was picked up allegedly by an intelligence agency in May last year on suspicion of helping the American CIA to trace Osama bin Laden by carrying out a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad. However, he was not convicted on that charge.He was shifted to Peshawar Central Prison on May 23, 2012, after his conviction by the assistant political agent of Bara tehsil in Khyber Agency, who sentenced him to 33 years of imprisonment on different counts including conspiracy to wage war against Pakistan and having links with a defunct organisation Lashkar-i-Islam.

His appeal has been pending before the court of commissioner Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR).