Pakistan court orders jobs reinstated for 'CIA' medics

PESHAWAR (AFP) - A Pakistani court has ordered the authorities to reinstate the jobs of 17 health workers sacked over CIA efforts to track down Osama bin Laden, officials said on Friday.

The order was made on Thursday in the northwestern town of Abbottabad, where bin Laden was found and shot dead by US special forces in May 2011.

"We will formally reinstate them after receiving written court orders," Mr Mohammad Qasim, an Abbottabad district health officer, told AFP.

The 17 medics worked on the same fake vaccination programme set up by the CIA in a bid to confirm that bin Laden was living in the city.

Fifteen women health workers were dismissed in August 2011, and a woman doctor and an assistant coordinator were sacked in March 2012.

Defence lawyer Sultan Ahmad Jamshed, confirmed the court order, which does not relate to surgeon Shakeel Afridi, who was jailed for 33 years for treason.

He was arrested after being recruited by the CIA to run the fake programme to obtain DNA samples in a bid to identify relatives of bin Laden.

He was convicted over alleged ties to militant group Lashkar-e-Islam and not for working for the CIA, for which the court said it did not have jurisdiction.

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