PESHAWAR: The Federally Administered Tribal Areas Tribunal once again adjourned the hearing on Thursday into Dr Shakil Afridi’s petition against the upholding of his conviction by an appellate forum over links with militant outfits, citing unavailability of the relevant records as the reason.
The three-member tribunal fixed July 18 for the next hearing directing the administration of Khyber Agency to produce the records of the case.
While some US lawmakers have reportedly been considering to use the aid cut to persuade Pakistan to release Dr Shakil, who is serving a 23-year prison term, no noteworthy progress has been taking place in his case here.
Since 2014, the administration has not producing the relevant records despite repeated orders by the tribunal.
Fata tribunal issues fresh orders to Khyber admin to produce relevant record
The tribunal consists of chairman Sange Marjan Khan and members Hussainzada Khan and Atif Nazir.
When the tribunal, the third and last judicial forum under the Frontier Crimes Regulation, began hearing, it was informed that the records of the case had so far not been produced.
The petitioner’s counsel, Qamar Nadeem Afridi, told Dawn that the records were not available due to which the hearing was adjourned.
On Mar 15, 2014, the FCR commissioner, the appellate forum under the FCR, had upheld the conviction of Dr Shakil for being linked to a banned militant organisation of Bara tehsil in Khyber Agency but reduced his imprisonment sentence given by the assistant political agent’s court from 33 years to 23 years and that of the Rs320,000 fine to Rs220,000.
Dr Shakil has now challenged the upholding of his conviction by the FCR commissioner by filing the present revision petition.
The tribunal also adjourned hearing of a petition filed by the administration of Khyber Agency against the reduction of sentence of Dr Shakil by the commissioner.
Dr Shakil was taken into custody in May 2011by intelligence agencies on suspicion of his involvement in tracing Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden by supporting a fake vaccination campaign of American CIA in Abbottabad. However he was not convicted on that charge.
The assistant political agent, who is also the additional district magistrate of Bara, convicted him on May 23, 2012 for involvement in anti-state activities by supporting the Bara-based Lashkar-i-Islam, and sentenced him on different counts to a total of 33 years imprisonment with fine of Rs320,000.
The petitioner, Dr Shakil, claimed he was denied the right to fair trial and was convicted by the assistant political agent on ‘flimsy grounds.’
The petitioner has contended that the FCR commissioner had ignored several facts while upholding his conviction.
He said earlier, the commissioner was sent back the case by the tribunal for clarifying certain points but instead of clarifying those points the commissioner upheld the decision of the APA.