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Pakistani government denies possibility of Fox News interview, claiming that there was no access to Shakil Afridi.
KARACHI, Pakistan — The Pakistani government and prison officials have denied the authenticity of an interview by Fox News with jailed Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi.
Yesterday, on the anniversary of September 11, Fox News aired an interview with Afridi in which he described being brutally tortured, and claimed that Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency (ISI), was actively funding militants and that the organization believed that the US was it's worst enemy.
Afridi was arrested following reports that he helped the United States find Osama bin Laden by running a vaccination program for the CIA. He was convicted to 33 years is prison for high treason in May 2012, when courts found him guilty of having ties with Lakshkar-e-Islam, a militant group.
BBC News called the interview into question, stating that Afridi is in a maximum prison facility in Peshawar and has had limited access to visitors, including his family. Fox News didn't disclose how their reporter conducted the interview, but BBC speculated that it could have taken place over the phone if someone had managed to smuggle one in for Afridi.
However, according to Pakistani newspaper, the Express Tribune, officials at the Peshawar Central Jail as well as the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa home and tribal affairs department stated that the interview, and the information revealed by Afridi, was untrue.
“Dr Afridi is beyond the access of media and the news published, whether audio or video, is ambiguous and false as no one can meet [him] without approval of the provincial government and jail authorities,” said the jail in a statement.
Afridi's defense team has also denied the interview's veracity, claiming that it was both baseless and fallacious, Dawn News reported.
Fox News correspondent Dominic Di-Natale explained in a tweet that “We asked key questions for ID purposes based on a track record of details. Then I directly spoke for 40 mins w/him on Saturday.”
Afridi's lawyer has stated that he is now under an increased security threat, as "there are hardcore militants inside the prison and once they come to know that Afridi has been interviewed by an American news channel, they would never leave him alive.”