Pakistan Foreign Office yet to decide if Osama bin Laden was terrorist or Hero
US must respect Pakistan legal courts
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (eTN) - It looks like Pakistani authorities have yet to decide that Osama bin Laden (OBL) was a terrorist or a hero for Pakistan. If he was a terrorist who was responsible for terrorisms all over the world including Pakistan where 35,000 people have died in terrorism-related incidents, then the man who made OBL's elimination possible should be rewarded instead of awarding a 70-year imprisonment in jail.
And if OBL was a hero, the reaction of the Foreign Office is justified, which announced today that the United States should respect the Pakistan court's decision to imprison Dr. Shakil Afridi, accused of helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden.
Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Ali Khan, on Thursday, was of the view that the decision in the case of Mr. Afridi was in accordance with Pakistani laws and by the Pakistani courts, and said we need to respect each other's legal processes. Dr. Afridi was accused of running a fake vaccination campaign in which he collected DNA samples, which may have helped the American intelligence agency find Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. Foreign spokesman Moazzam Khan said Pakistan had decided to attend Nato's summit in Chicago due to Afghanistan.
A Pakistani surgeon recruited by the CIA to help find Osama bin Laden was on Wednesday sentenced to 33 years in prison for treason, officials said.
Political administration of the Khyber Pakhtun Khawa tribal region awarded the punishment to Dr. Shakeel Afridi after finding him guilty of committing treason by helping a foreign country's intelligence agency in ascertaining the whereabouts of bin Laden. In addition to his jail sentence, he was fined 320,000 rupees.
Meanwhile, key US Senators demanded that Pakistan pardon Afridi, warning that the decision could put US assistance at risk. Carl Levin and John McCain, the top Senators from the two major US parties on the Senate Armed Services Committee, called Afridi's sentence "shocking and outrageous." They urged Pakistan to pardon and free Afridi "immediately." The US State Department said it saw no reason for Pakistan to detain or charge the doctor.
The court was headed by a deputy administrator responsible for the Bara region. Afridi was charged under the British-time Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) that, unlike the Pakistan Criminal Code (CPRC), does not carry a death penalty for high treason.
A judicial commission investigating the circumstances leading to the death of the Al Qaeda chief, Osama bin Laden, in a US navy seal raid in the northern city of Abbottabad in May, 2011, had recommended last October that Afridi be charged with high treason. Civil Society organizations of Pakistan were of the view that if OBL was a terrorist, then his elimination was a good job, and Dr. Shakeel should have been awarded by the Pakistan government, but it looks like Pakistan authorities are annoyed with Dr. Shakeel for helping the USA to eliminate OBL, and that is the reason that the judicial commission that actually works under the Interior Ministry (Home Land Ministry) of Pakistan, instead of the Law Ministry, awarded this sentence to Dr. Shakeel.
This decision indicates that running after terrorists and trying to punish them in Pakistan is not a dangerous one, for facing the consequences from terrorists outfits rather than government, which can punish someone who tries to fight against terrorism and help international forces to nab terrorists appears to be just as dangerous.