Fox News claimed that its correspondent had conducted the interview in Peshawar Central Jail, and quoted Dr Afridi as saying that he suffered “brutal interrogation and torture” by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) when arrested. According toFox, Afridi accused the ISI of funding militants, regarding the US as its “worst enemy”, while it accused Pakistan of cooperating with the US only to extract money, amongst numerous other allegations.
Fox News only aired the transcript of the purported exclusive, but did not indicate whether it was a video or audio interview. It also does not say how its reporter managed to enter the jail or meet Dr Afridi.
On Tuesday, the interview was categorically denied by officials at Peshawar Central Jail and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa home and tribal affairs department and ruled out any possibility of interviewing Dr Afridi inside the jail. “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 a statement issued by the Peshawar Central Jail.
The statement read that the K-P government regretted the story published by Fox News since only family members had been allowed to meet Afridi once a month at an office of the deputy superintendent jail. The home department’s Section Officer (Media) Qamar Ali also toldThe Express Tribunethat Afridi had been under strict security, adding that only his family members, after approval of the provincial government, were allowed to meet him once a month.
“The news is completely vague and untrue,” said Ali.
Afridi’s 18-member defence counsel has also denied the interview, terming it baseless and fallacious.
Keeping an eye on this one.