Islamabad: The United States has sought the intervention of Pakistan’s top political leadership to secure the release of a doctor, who allegedly worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to track down Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.
Dr Shakeel Afridi, who is currently in the custody of Pakistani security agencies, ran a fake polio vaccination drive on behalf of the CIA in a bid to obtain DNA samples of bin Laden’s family in Abbottabad, months before the then Al Qaeda Chief was killed by US Navy Seals on May 2.
The CIA had organised the vaccination programme in Abbottabad in order to confirm, whether Bin Laden was hiding in the Abbottabad compound.
Official sources have confirmed that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on July 28 to seek his help in securing Dr Afridi’s release, a newspaper reports.
However, Zardari reportedly turned down the request, arguing that the matter was sub judice, and that the judicial commission investigating the circumstances surrounding the presence and killing of Bin Laden in Abbottabad, would decide the doctor’s fate, the paper quoted sources, as saying.
An official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told a newspaper that the detained doctor might be summoned by the Abbottabad commission for questioning.
Afridi has yet to be charged formally, but if he is, he could face the death penalty for collaborating with a foreign spy agency, the paper said.
The high-powered commission, which is headed by a recently retired senior Supreme Court Judge Justice Javed Iqbal, had already barred the government from extraditing bin Laden’s widows and other persons connected with that incident.