OBL Comm asks authorities to charge doc of high treason

Islamabad: A Pakistani judicial commission probing the death of Osama bin Laden has directed that a case of "high treason" be slapped on a doctor detained on charges of working for the CIA to obtain DNA samples of people living in the al-Qaeda leader`s compound in Abbottabad.

The commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Javed Iqbal gave the directive after interviewing the doctor named Shakeel Afridi, who was detained shortly after the covert US military raid that killed bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2.

"In view of the record and evidence placed before the commission in relation to Dr Shakeel Afridi, the commission is of the view that prima facie, a case of conspiracy against the State of Pakistan and high treason is made out against him," said a statement issued by the panel.

"Therefore, a case under relevant law should be registered against Dr Shakeel Afridi and he should be proceeded in accordance with law," the statement said.

Under Pakistani laws, a person convicted of high treason can be awarded a death penalty.

Media reports have said Afridi conducted a free vaccination campaign in bin Laden`s neighbourhood early this year in a bid to obtain DNA samples of residents of the compound after the CIA had zeroed in on it.

The government has directed the commission to probe how bin Laden`s presence in Pakistan went undetected for almost five years, the circumstances of the US raid and any security lapses that may have occurred on May 2, and to make recommendations based on its findings.