Islamabad: A former lawyer of a Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA in the hunt for Osama bin Laden was shot dead in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, officials said.
Two militant groups claimed responsibility for the attack on Samiullah Afridi, who had faced threats for representing doctor Shakeel Afridi, on the outskirts of Peshawar.
Afridi was returning from a village, Mathra, when unknown gunmen sprayed bullets on his car, Mian Saeed, a senior police official, told AFP.
"According to initial reports, two gunmen fired on his car from both sides and escaped after the attack," he said.
Another police official Shakirullah Bangash confirmed the incident and said that a search operation was being conducted in the area to trace the attackers.
Fahad Marwat, a spokesman for the militant group Jandullah called AFP soon after the incident and claimed responsibility for the killing.
Later in the evening, a Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan also called AFP and claimed the attack.
"We killed Samiullah Afridi for supporting Shakeel Afridi and will also target other lawyers who are providing legal assistance to him," he said.
The deceased lawyer told AFP in 2014 that he had decided to withdraw from the doctor`s case after he received threats against his life for providing legal aid to him.
The CIA recruited Afridi for a fake vaccination programme in a bid to confirm the 9/11 mastermind was living in Abbottabad.
The plan was to use the drive as cover to collect DNA material after vaccinating bin Laden`s children as a way of positively identifying the Al-Qaeda leader.
The doctor was convicted under Pakistan`s tribal justice system and jailed to 33 years in 2012 for having ties to militants. Last year a tribunal cut 10 years off his sentence.
Some US lawmakers have said the case was revenge for his help in the search for the al Qaeda chief.
Pakistan`s powerful army were hugely embarrassed by the May 2011 US special forces raid -- conducted without Pakistani knowledge -- that found and killed bin Laden in the northern town of Abbottabad, a stone`s throw from an elite military academy.
The CIA`s fake vaccination campaign increased Taliban opposition to immunisation drives, which the militants say are cover for spying, and attacks on health teams have claimed 74 lives since December 2012.
Officials said last week that the tribunal hearing an appeal by the doctor was dissolved because the contracts of its members and chairman expired in January and no replacements have been hired or plans made to renew them.