JSD Candidate Dawood Ahmed on Pakistani Coverage of Afridi Case

Dawood Ahmed on Pakistani Coverage of Dr. Afridi
Dawood Ahmed
May 31, 2012

The conviction of Dr. Shakil Afridi has concocted up a bit of a heated debate in Pakistan—as with the Raymond Davis affair last year, this trial has aroused much patriotic sentiment across the country.

Both incidents concern individuals who were either covertly working for or helping the United States, a country that is viewed with deep suspicion and distrust by many Pakistanis. Both trials were conducted in an opaque manner, in a judicial forum that left ample opportunity for influence by the executive. And like before, many Pakistanis are now angry about United States interference in what many consider essentially a domestic and internal affair.

A major difference between the two cases, however, is that whilst there was little or no sympathy in Pakistan for Raymond Davis, there is sympathy amongst some for Dr. Shakil Afridi.

Many, however, are still puzzled by Dr. Afridi’s motives; was he a hero or simply stupid?  Did he not appreciate that he would get into very serious trouble with the Pakistani establishment if it were discovered that he had helped a foreign state. Arguably, to cross the establishment and yet be sentenced to “only” 33 years imprisonment seems like a walk in the park compared to what could have happened.