No deal on doctor who ‘helped’ CIA track Osama: Pakistan

Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday said there was no deal between Islamabad and Washington for the release or handing over of Shakil Afridi, who helped the US track down Al Qaeda chief Osama bin-Laden in 2011.

The remarks by Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal came days after Pakistani authorities moved Afridi, a physician, from a prison in Peshawar to an undisclosed location, triggering speculation about his possible release.

Faisal turned down questions about media reports claiming that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had tried to stage a jailbreak in Peshawar in order to rescue Afridi, saying he had no information about the matter since it concerned the Interior Ministry.

Afridi, a former surgeon believed to be in his mid-50s, was arrested eight years ago after it emerged that he had passed on intelligence about bin Laden to the CIA.

He was convicted by a court in 2012 and sentenced to 33 years in prison over ties with banned militant groups.

He was never formally convicted of helping the CIA find the Al Qaeda chief, leading to his death.