PROFESSOR ALI SUKHANVER
Apart from the actual facts and figures, Dr Afridi’s case has generated a never ending discussion at national and international level in a very controversial manner. The patriots inPakistansee him as a traitor who had become a secret agent of a foreign agency, for money whereas US patronized media persons project him as a hero. Here the most important thing is that the face of actualities must not be deformed in heat and haste. At present, Dr. Afridi must not be discussed as a traitor or a hero. He is simply a criminal who has been penalized by a court for his linkage and association with a terrorist organization which is involved in anti- state activities. Let the government take the matter of his affiliation with the CIA regarding the Abbotabad Operation into consideration and let the court decide his status; only after that it would be fair to call Dr. Afridi a traitor or a hero.
It is something very interesting that people did not know even the name of Dr. Shakeel Afridi even one year after the Abbotabad Operation. It was 23rd of May 2012 when the court of the Assistant Political Agent Bara sentenced 33 years imprisonment to Dr. Afridi, the name of this doctor came to the knowledge of common people of Pakistan but they did not take him very serious. According to the common opinion Dr. Afridi was a criminal and the court put him behind the bars. But just after 23rd of May, there came a hurricane of blames and allegations against the law enforcement agencies and the government ofPakistan in the western media. CIA sponsored American writers, TV anchors, analysts and even the men in congress started maligning the image ofPakistan by drawing a false picture of the situation. They devoted all their zeal and zest to prove that Dr. Afridi was penalized not for his association with a terrorist organization but for his co-operation with the CIA in the Abbotabad operation.
US Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said in his very bitter remarks on Dr. Afridi’s punishment, “It is a decisive proof thatPakistansees itself as being at war with theUS”. US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland was of the opinion that there was no basis for Dr Afridi to be held.USsenators Carl Levin and John McCain jointly stated that Afridi’s sentence was ‘shocking and outrageous’. They warnedPakistanthat the decision could putUSassistance toPakistanat risk in case Dr Afridi is not granted pardon. CriticizingPakistan’s sentencing to Dr Shakeel Afridi US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said, “It is so disturbing that they would sentence this doctor to 33 years for helping in the search for the most notorious terrorist of our time”. Why they all are in a state of pain and agony over the court’s verdict on Dr. Afridi. What else mustPakistando with a person who is joining hands with the anti-state elements? What could have been the action or reaction of theUSauthorities if someone like Dr. Afridi was caught there red-handed?
Dr. Afridi is reaping for what he had sown. He was causing damage to the very foundation ofPakistanby joining hands with the terrorists that is why he is sent behind the bars. The matter has nothing to do with theUS. All thisUS’ hue and cry over his imprisonment is baseless, futile and against the diplomatic norms and traditions.Americais a very old chum ofPakistanandPakistanis no doubt a frontline ally in theUSwar on terror. The action taken against Dr. Afridi is also a serious and sincere effort to crush terrorism, the terrorists and their companions. Instead of linking financial support with the release of Dr. Afridi or rebuking to slash economic aid ofPakistan, US must encourage and appreciatePakistan’s standpoint in Dr. Afridi’s case.