PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has directed the provincial government to allow Dr Shakil Afridi’s siblings to meet him, as per the law. Dr Shakil, the man who helped CIA in tracing Osama Bin Laden, is imprisoned in Central Prison Peshawar on a 23-year sentence for allegedly having ties with militants.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Muhammad Daud Khan issued the order on Wednesday while hearing a petition filed by Jamil Afridi, brother of Dr Shakil. The family requested the court to direct the provincial government to allow them to meet the prisoner.
Abdul Latif Afridi, counsel for Jamil, told the court that his client met his brother in central jail on August 28, 2012 and since then he has not been allowed to meet Dr Shakil. Despite submitting many applications to the home department, the counsel said, Jamil has not been able to see his brother.
“Under the jail law, the family can meet their members in jail with a gap of 15 days,” said the counsel. “However, Dr Shakil’s siblings have not been granted the permission which translates into discrimination under the law.”
On the other hand, Additional Advocate General Qaiser Ali Shah informed the court that the provincial government had issued a notification on June 24, 2013 which stated the family of Dr Shakil would be allowed to meet him in the prison once in a month.
However, the prison superintendent has the authority to accept or reject any application seeking a meeting of family members with prison inmates, added Qaiser.
In response, CJ Miankhel said if the superintendent rejects applications, he has to give the reasons for doing so.
The court then directed the provincial government to allow Dr Shakil’s siblings to meet him as is laid down in the law.
Prior to the order
On March 15, 2014, Peshawar Commissioner Captain (retd) Munir Azam, who also served as FCR commissioner, removed Section 123-A of Pakistan Penal Code 1860 from the charges against Dr Shakil, reducing his sentence from 33 years – handed to him by assistant political agent Bara – to 23 years and his fine to Rs220,000 from Rs320,000.
Azam’s decision set aside the verdict of previous commissioner Sahibzada Muhammad Anis (late) who had overturned Dr Shakil’s 33-year sentence on August 29, 2013 and ordered the political agent Khyber Agency hear the case afresh.
Dr Shakil has filed a review petition in FATA Tribunal against the reduction in his sentence, stating it is against the previous order of the tribunal which called for a fresh order.
Published in The Express Tribune