Dr Shakil Afridi, How dare you?

by Abdul Majeed

Mr. Shakil Afridi, the infamous doctor involved in the ‘fake’ vaccination drive that became the chief source of intelligence about OBL and his family, was sentenced recently under the FCR regulations to 33 years in prison. Dr Shakil was sentenced according to Section 121 (waging war against the state) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). US secretary of the State, Hillary Clinton expressed dismay over this action and demanded a fair trial for Dr Afridi. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) also expressed concern at the denial of due process rights to Dr Shakil Afridi. Meanwhile, in her statement on Friday, former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Asma Jahangir terming Afridi’s punishment a violation of human rights, reiterated demands that he be given a fair trial and allowed to engage a counsel for his defense.

Dr Afridi’s sentence has not gotten a word of protest out of the ghairat-obsessed religious parties or political parties catering to right-wing or centre-right such as PML(N) or PTI. This shows the extent of hypocrisy on part of these political entities as the death of OBL was considered a ‘staged drama’ by followers of the same parties. By using some basic logic, if OBL was not there, sheltered by ‘acquiescent’ hands in the Pakistani Establishment, why punish Afridi for a crime he did not commit?

Dr Shakil Afridi was serving as Chief Surgeon at a hospital in Jamrud, located in Khyber Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas(FATA). He was complicit in getting one of the most wanted human beings on earth killed by US Navy SEALS on 2nd May, 2011. From a purely medical perspective, Dr. Afridi did a noble task. As a doctor, he must have operated upon or helped operate upon tumors that were killing innocent people. His involvement in the killing of OBL was exactly like that. Assistance in the removal of a deadly tumor. Instead of being given recognition, he got 33 years of Jail Time. That is quite fitting, because he does not live in the civilized world after all. He could have gone to the gulf states for healthy pay or to any other foreign country for further education and should have stayed there. Why did he insist on living in this wretched land after all? He should have stopped working at the government hospital because of dilapidated health services and a criminal negligence towards the health sector shown by the policy makers. He should have opened up a fancy clinic in a posh suburb in Peshawar or Haripur or Abbotabad or Karachi. That would have served him well. He did the wrong thing. He should be sentenced for a hundred years, to make an example out of such idiots who insist upon living in this hell-hole and are even willing to rid this land of tumors. How dare he. To quote the great poet we have overlooking the dispensation of justice to lab rats known as “Awaam”

Pity the nation that does not imprison the healer that dared touch its wounds,

Pity the nation that does not mourn the death of a great martyr like Osama,

Pity the nation that does not take up arms against politicians while the military holds on to ‘strategic Assets’

and Indeed, Pity the nation that gives the right of prosecution to the person who is to be sentenced for 33 years.

Who are we kidding, right. This is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. We punish our heroes and garland rabid killers like Qadri and Malik Ishaq. Dr. Afridi should have killed a few Shias or (alleged)blaspehmers or should have tried to establish sharia law in any given part of the country. That would have resulted in more “honorable” gifts than a prison sentence.

P.S If Dr. Shakil had to tried on anything, let’s make it the illegal use of a vaccination drive in an under-developed area and thus tarnishing the already tarnished image of role of vaccines in protecting children from common diseases. But that punishment will not amount to 33 years in any court of law.


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