Peshawar: Dr Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) track Osama bin Laden, has been kept in a special cell by the Peshawar Central Prison authorities.
The prison authorities fear hardcore militants languishing in the prison could attack Afridi; hence the security has been tightened for the doctor.
According to The News, sources in the Home and Tribal Affairs Department said that dozens of hardcore militants who had links with the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militant organisations, including al Qaeda, were also being held in the Peshawar Central Prison.
Meanwhile, intelligence officials have said keeping Shakil Afridi in Peshawar`s central prison is no less than keeping him in plain sight of the Taliban who are purportedly baying for his blood.
According to an intelligence report submitted to authorities in Islamabad, Afridi faces a grave threat to his life while he is imprisoned in the Peshawar central jail, reports The Express Tribune.
The location and accessibility of the prison makes it an easy target for the Taliban. Flanked on one side by the Grand Trunk Road, and the other three sides by the congested area of Saddar, the jail can easily be targeted by militants, especially those from the adjoining Khyber Agency, the report says.
According to intelligence sources, the Taliban are considering two options at the moment - to attack the prison, take Dr Afridi with them and have their leadership decide his fate, or have an inmate from the jail kill the doctor.
"Yes, the Peshawar prison might be attacked," said a prison official.
Officials recommend the shifting of Dr Afridi from Peshawar to Islamabad for now, before a future plan is chalked out.
The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), on the other hand, said they would kill Dr Afridi to "avenge Sheikh Osama`s killing".
"We consider Dr Shakil Afridi our avowed enemy. Our fighters will kill him wherever they find him," TTP Deputy chief Waliur Rehman told the paper.
"He has done everything for money," Rehman said referring to Dr Afridi`s role in helping the CIA track down Osama in his Abbottabad compound.
"We will get him (Dr Afridi) as soon as possible to avenge the killing of Sheikh Osama," the TTP deputy chief added.
Shakil Afridi ran a fake vaccination campaign to get DNA sample of the children of al Qaeda chief in Abbottabad.
The 33-year jail term to Afridi has created outrage in the US with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling it "unjust and unwarranted" and a Senate panel voting to cut aid to Islamabad.
However, Pakistan on Thursday rejected US criticism over jailing Afridi, saying Washington should respect decisions of the country`s courts.
(With ANI inputs)