Peshawar: A Pakistani lawyer representing jailed doctor Shakil Afridi, who helped the CIA track down al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, has quit citing threats to his life and the US`s "pressure tactics" for his release.
During the hearing, Samiullah Afridi yesterday said they were fighting the case in the court of law but undue pressure from the US is an indirect interference in the court proceedings and that is the main reason he decided to quit.
"The pressure tactics by the US on Pakistani government for extra judicial release of Dr Shakil Afridi was impacting the Pakistani courts, though I do not consider the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) laws humane and we are fighting for amendments, but still the case has to be left to the courts for decision," he was quoted as saying by Dawn News.
Samiullah said he had decided to fight Afridi`s case on humanitarian grounds but since then he and his family were being threatened from different quarters so it was no more possible for him to continue.
"The threats are very real, and they are coming for the last almost two years but the last few days remained very difficult for me and family so there was no option but to quit," he added.
Afridi was sentenced to 33 years in prison and fined Rs 3,20,000 on charges of colluding with Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) and its chief Mangal Bagh in 2012.
However, the tribal court had not entertained evidence relating to Afridi`s involvement with the CIA, citing lack of jurisdiction.
His sentence was reduced to 23 years and fine to Rs 2,20,000 last year in August and a retrial was ordered.
Afridi was arrested immediately after the May 2, 2011 operation by US commandos in the garrison town of Abbottabad that killed al-Qaeda chief bin Laden.