But is his imprisonment just a simple legal matter? Does he deserve such a stiff punishment? Has the matter been dealt with in a fair and transparent manner by the Pakistani government? Answer to all these questions is a big no. This no gives birth to more questions.
Why was he tried and sentenced in Khyber Agency when the crime took place in Abbottabad, which is a settled area, and, thereby, under the jurisdiction of the Peshawar High Court? Why was he not given a chance to be represented by a lawyer? Why all the proceedings give impression of a one-way traffic? By trying him under the FCR — notwithstanding an unnamed government official telling news wires that he has the right of appeal — Article 247 of the Constitution effectively bars the high court or the Supreme Court from jurisdiction on this matter.
This questionable conduct by the Pakistani government will give birth to more difficult questions. If it is a matter of violating the Constitution or breaching the law of the land, then it should also bring to justice all the former military generals who declared martial law in Pakistan, and award them with befitting punishment as well. The matters relating to violation of the Constitution and treasons should not remain confined to the likes of Dr Shakil Afridi and Hussain Haqqani.
The knee-jerk response of the Pakistani state will open up yet another Pandora’s Box. Will anyone ever try to find out how Osama Bin Laden managed to live in Pakistan for over six years and fathered children without being noticed, even for once? Will someone also find out why the killers of Shia Hazara Community have not been arrested or given a trial as swift as the one Dr Shakil Afridi got? Will someone answer how a dreaded sectarian terrorist and head of banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Malik Ishaq, got a bail despite his involvement in more than 40 cases of terrorism with compelling evidence? Will someone also make findings of Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission public so the masses know about the traitors who are responsible for dismemberment of their country?
In all fairness, Dr Afridi should get a chance to file appeal against his imprisonment and to tell his side of the story. He still has the right to contest the verdict by filing an appeal to the FCR Commissioner and tribunal.