Threats to his life from unidentified persons have resulted in Samiullah Afridi, who played a leading role as a lawyer for Dr Shakil Afridi to back off from the case.

Samiullah Afridi told The Hindu on the phone from Peshawar on Saturday that some days ago a few people had come and threatened him and said they would attach a magnetic bomb to his car if he continued with the case.

Dr Shakil Afridi was sentenced to 33 years in jail for his links with a banned terror group Lashkar i Islam in 2012 though he was suspected of helping the CIA track down Osama Bin Laden in Abbotabad under cover as part of a polio immunization programme in 2011. In March his sentence was commuted by ten years.

Mr. Samiullah has been his lawyer along with a group of others but he said he has been receiving threats since the time he took up the case two years ago. He was planning to file a fresh plea for a re-trial before the FATA tribunal but now it would done by other lawyers.

He said he had fought threats to his life for a long time but there was a deadline set by those who were threatening him and he had to leave the case. “When I took up the defence for Dr Afridi, no one was willing to touch the matter and I persisted despite so many dangers to my life,” he said. Now, he said the situation didn’t permit him to continue with the case. In March the Frontier Crimes Regulation Commissioner Munir Azam in response to demands for a retrial had directed the political agent of Khyber Agency to further adduce evidence in consultation with concerned intelligence agencies and prepare a case against Dr Afridi to be filed in a competent court of law.

The political agent was directed to examine Dr Afridi's involvement in activities against the state in collaboration with foreign intelligence agencies. In a detailed order Mr. Azam said there was ample evidence collected by the Joint Interrogation Team against Dr Afridi regarding his involvement in activities against the state. He said the trial court has not dilated upon these citing reasons of want of jurisdiction and had recommended that the Dr Afridi may be produced before the relevant court for further proceedings under the law.