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Travel ban on people linked to Osama’s panel

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Sept 7, IRNA -- A commission investigating US military raid to kill Osama bin Laden in May and presence of the most wanted man in the Pakistani city of Abbotabad Tuesday slapped travel restrictions on all people related to the events, officials said.

The ban came just a few days after reports that the United States has sought the release of a doctor who allegedly worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to track down al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.

Dr Shakeel Afridi, who is currently in the custody of 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 world’s most wanted man was killed by US Special Forces on May 2, reports said.

“Abbottabad Commission has imposed a ban on traveling abroad for all persons related to Abbottabad Incident including Dr. Shakeel Afridi till further orders,” a spokesman for the Commission said.

“No such person should be allowed to leave the country without clearance from the Abbottabad Commission,” the spokesman said in a statement.

Local media reported that the vaccination programme was launched by the CIA in order to confirm whether or not Bin Laden was hiding in the Abbottabad compound.

Official sources have confirmed that US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton telephoned President Asif Ali Zardari on July 28 to seek his help in securing Dr Afridi’s release, The Express Tribune newspaper had reported on Sunday.

However, President Zardari reportedly turned down the request, arguing that the matter was before the judicial commission, which has been investigating the circumstances surrounding the death and presence of Bin Laden in Abbottabad, sources said.

“The matter is sub judice and it is only the Abbottabad Commission which will decide his (Afridi) fate,” said an official quoting President Zardari as having told
Secretary Clinton.

The official said that the detained doctor may be summoned by the Abbottabad commission for questioning.

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 who are connected with this incident.

Afridi was one of several Pakistanis who were detained by the country’s security agencies over allegations of working for the CIA. Afridi has yet to be charged formally, but if he is, he could face the death penalty for collaborating with a foreign spy agency.

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Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30552112



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