US citizenship for Dr Shakil Afridi, says congressman

Published: February 5, 2012

The bill submitted by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher on Friday, called for Dr Afridi to be deemed “a naturalized citizen of the United States.” PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON: A United States (US) Congressman has submitted a bill to the House of Representatives asking to grant US citizenship to Dr Shakil Afridi, the doctor who provided vital help to the US in finding Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.

The bill submitted by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher on Friday, called for Dr Afridi to be deemed “a naturalized citizen of the United States.”

In his speech in Congress, Rohrabacher, who is also the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight, said, “Pakistan’s Inquiry Commission on the Abbottabad Operation, the US mission which killed bin Laden, has recommended that Dr Afridi be tried for treason for helping the US. If convicted, he could be executed. My bill would grant him US citizenship and send a direct and powerful message to those in the Pakistani government and military who protected the mastermind of 9/11 for all those years and who are now seeking retribution on those who helped to execute bin Laden.”

Rohrabacher cited media reports that Dr Afridi’s wife, an American citizen of Pakistani origin was also missing. “This bill shows the world that America does not abandon its friends,”  adding that 21 members of Congress had endorsed the bill as well.

The bill, which was referred to the Committee on Judiciary, comes after US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said in an interview last week that Dr Afridi had provided key intelligence that led to the raid in Abbottabad.

Media reports had earlier said that Dr Afridi had organized a polio vaccination campaign in the city for the Central Intelligence Agency, in order to collect DNA sample to prove that the al Qaeda leader was present in the Abbottabad compound.

Reader Comments (80)

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Feb 5, 2012 - 11:21PM

    As US has announced US citizenship for Dr. Shakeel Afridi, it means that US is going to take away Dr. Shakeel Afridi from Government of Pakistan.

    But there are many US friends in Pakistan.

    What are the reasons that US Congress don’t pass the bill(s) and announce that those friends residing in Pakistan are also US citizens and then take them away from Pak soil?

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  • Anon
    Feb 5, 2012 - 11:37PM

    wow if this bill gets through, there will be lasting ill feeling towards US in Pakistan. Thanks US – give more material to Difa e Pakistan!!!

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  • RBI
    Feb 5, 2012 - 11:52PM

    How did the USA get a comparative sample of OBL in the first place ? Did OBL have a past record in the us where his DNA was first stored ? Eg when obl applied for a job at the CIA ?

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  • let there be peace
    Feb 5, 2012 - 11:58PM

    it was long overdue

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  • Feb 6, 2012 - 12:05AM

    Why US is giving so much importance to Shakeel Afridi and why our institutions are silent and not charging him ?

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  • WoW
    Feb 6, 2012 - 12:07AM

    There is going to be a lot of resentment, US should consider the consequences of taking such an unpopular step.

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  • nnk
    Feb 6, 2012 - 12:14AM

    Friends of our enemies (traitors) cannot be our friends.

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  • Sri
    Feb 6, 2012 - 12:18AM

    @RBI: may be you were quite involved with Pakistani conspiracy media to play attention to the details during may last year , OBL has a family of 2 cricket teams size some of them are in USA itself.

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  • Imran Mohammad
    Feb 6, 2012 - 12:19AM

    I have never believed in conspiracy theories about 9/11 but subsequent events have made me increasingly suspicious. OBL is a fish story right from the beginning.

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  • Pinky
    Feb 6, 2012 - 12:20AM

    good development…next time we need anyone to do a topsecret inside job in US, we would know whom to get in touch with ;p ;p

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  • Sehr.Siddiqui
    Feb 6, 2012 - 12:23AM

    those who handed over pakistanies to America are heroes in Pakistan( placed in high positions) and one who helped identify the most wanted OBL is prisoned in Pakistan.Dr. Shaleel Afridi will be remembered in history and that is why America has decided to take him away.

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  • sidjeen
    Feb 6, 2012 - 12:24AM

    i dont understand if Dr shakeel afridi helped in the killing of OBL should not we be giving him an award or something rather than trying him for treason i mean osama was a sworn enemy of pakistan was not he or am i missing something

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  • Star
    Feb 6, 2012 - 12:27AM

    Looks US justifying spying in other counties and endorsing crime and violations of international law…

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  • Mirza
    Feb 6, 2012 - 12:43AM

    Instead of US citizenship, Dr. Afridi should be nominated for Nobel Peace Prize. It is ironic that the Abbottabad Commission while sitting and not bringing out the truth the US congressman already is talking about its findings. Now the Commission would have to alter its findings or keep them secret like all previous investigations e.g., Rehman Commission Report.

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  • jibran
    Feb 6, 2012 - 12:47AM

    @RBI:
    please educate yourself. You don’t gather DNA samples of your employees after hiring him. second, DNA match can be made based on those of parents, siblings, and samples can be collected from previously used items by the subject. In short, science is fairly more advanced than the little cocoon you are living in.

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  • Cautious
    Feb 6, 2012 - 1:06AM

    @RBI

    How did the USA get a comparative
    sample of OBL in the first place ? Did
    OBL have a past record in the us where
    his DNA was first stored ? Eg when obl
    applied for a job at the CIA ?

    DNA samples were obtained from relatives including his Sister who died of brain cancer at the
    Massachusetts General Hospital – like most conspiracy theories – they only survive because people take great pains to avoid looking at anything that conflicts with their bias.

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  • Afaaq
    Feb 6, 2012 - 1:16AM

    @RBI

    OBL came from a big family. Getting DNA samples wouldnt have been a hard thing for them. If a Pakistani National commits a crime in the US. Does Pakistan speak for that individual? What goes around, comes around ….

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  • G. Din
    Feb 6, 2012 - 1:22AM

    @Anon:
    “wow if this bill gets through, there will be lasting ill feeling towards US in Pakistan. “
    Doesn’t just the introduction of such a bill denote that no one really cares about the “ill feelings” of Pakistanis? On the flip side, the fact that Pakistan went after the good doctor just for helping in the elimination of terror to which ostensibly Pakistan had enjoined signify that it considers US an adversary by association?

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  • Shirazi
    Feb 6, 2012 - 1:24AM

    Citizenship is great but what about the $50M bounty money? If you don’t give that world won’t take your head money announcements seriously.

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  • Feb 6, 2012 - 1:51AM

    Thats no good

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  • menteliscio
    Feb 6, 2012 - 1:53AM

    Dear Congressman,
    Please dont play with doctors life just to annoy Pakistan Govt. It is very clear you dont wish well for the doctor.

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  • Salman
    Feb 6, 2012 - 2:09AM

    US is giving importance to Dr Shakil because his case can provide a good cover up that whether OBL existed there or not. They want to keep this issue alive since whole Attobabad operation fiasco looks dubious.

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  • Ivan
    Feb 6, 2012 - 2:16AM

    LOVE Pakistani ways of finding scapegoats.

    OBL hiding near Pak army base (and killed); no ISI resignations, no heads rolled.

    The good doctor helped to kill Pakistani enemy OBL and you want to hang him.

    ISI sold Pakistanis (our Gitmo guests) for money, no commission needed; the CJ does not give a damn.

    Did the doctor reveal any state secrets? NO

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  • Amjad
    Feb 6, 2012 - 2:41AM

    Shakil afridinis benefactor not traitor.

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  • Maulana tharra
    Feb 6, 2012 - 3:00AM

    Me too!!!

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  • Raj - USA
    Feb 6, 2012 - 3:09AM

    @sidjeen:

    I quote you:
    ” i dont understand if Dr shakeel afridi helped in the killing of OBL should not we be giving him an award or something rather than trying him for treason i mean osama was a sworn enemy of pakistan was not he or am i missing something”

    What you are missing is the point that the Establishment has lost its head and is trying to hide its shame by absurd acts.

    I am waiting for the suggestion from the Establishment that Pakistan, in a tit-for-tat act, should offer Pakistani Citizenship to Dr. Fai.

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  • Super Pak
    Feb 6, 2012 - 3:42AM

    Oh come on guys just admit that we got caught with our pants down. Instead of this being a lesson we still believe we were somehow in the right. Humiliation should be a humbling experience not living in denial.

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  • Umer
    Feb 6, 2012 - 3:43AM

    We should also give Pakistani citizenship to Mansoor Ijaz for his great services to the deep state of Pakistan.

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  • logic Europe
    Feb 6, 2012 - 3:46AM

    Dr afridi did a great offer to Pakistan ,just imagine if pakistan was attacked bu USA ,what would have our army done..?

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  • Maray brother ki drone
    Feb 6, 2012 - 4:12AM

    “Americ­a does not abando­n its friends …”
    Yeah tell that to our public what happened right after the russians left Afghanistan.
    seriously, the guy is very new at his game.

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  • non-conformist
    Feb 6, 2012 - 4:34AM

    Congressman, This step of yours will only fuel anti-Americanism in Pakistani general public. But who cares for the public anyway?

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  • Maria
    Feb 6, 2012 - 4:45AM

    The US should try to understand the position of Pakistanis who are aggrieved at a perceived slight against national sovereignty. It is not about OBL who deserved to be served justice. It is the principle that the citizen of a nation should not be spying for a foreign government without informing his own nation. Would the US react positively to an US citizen working for Russian intelligence to track down and kill a criminal on US soil without US knowledge? What is that US citizen is now being honored and being given Russian praise and citizenship? I can’t understand why this issue needs any clarification. The US should work together with Pakistan and if they work behind the back of the Pakistani government, how can they build a positive partnership?

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  • MarkH
    Feb 6, 2012 - 6:07AM

    Anyone saying this is going to hurt the US in regard to Pakistani opinion: the card has been played and taken out of the deck some time ago. Who cares if it gets a little worse now?

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  • Feb 6, 2012 - 6:07AM

    so they dont give a damn to feelings of Pakistani people

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  • Justice
    Feb 6, 2012 - 6:11AM

    Dr. Shakeel should be given Nishan e Imtiaz from Pakistan govt. Any other nation would treat him as hero who help in elimination of most wanted terrorists of the world.

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  • Feb 6, 2012 - 6:20AM

    He will be killed there just like the delta force was killed to cover up lies.

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  • vasan
    Feb 6, 2012 - 6:36AM

    Bravo: Considering the length US goes to protect and cover the interests of its citizens, considering the shameful ways of Pakistan selling its citizens to US for greenbacks, I will no doubt believe that the good doc will take it given an opportunity. There is no question of treason here, The good doc tried to help a foreign fugitive hiding in Pakistan. If an illegal visitior is handed over to the officials, is it treason. After all OBL was wanted by everyone. It does not matter to whom he helped. The most wanted fugitive was eliminated. End of story,.

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  • A. Khan
    Feb 6, 2012 - 6:43AM

    @RBI : US got samples from Bin Ladens extended family who were in US for medical treatment.

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  • J Oberoi
    Feb 6, 2012 - 6:45AM

    Peoples, here is a great way to get a US citizenship !! There are still a few opportunities left – Mullah Omar is still on the loose. Anybody want US citizenship? ;-)
    Seriously, this is a great move by the US. The poor doctor was only trying to get a terrorist to book. Good job America !!

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  • Faisal L
    Feb 6, 2012 - 7:34AM

    Shakil Afridi to me is a hero for helping get rid of a man who openly declared war against Pak Army and it’s citizens. Instead of trying him for treason the Army higher ups should be held accountable for failing to know about the whereabouts of OBL!

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  • Feb 6, 2012 - 8:05AM

    When did helping other Countries became treason? Did he know that he was doing it for CIA and to hunt down OBL? Obviously no. No agency will reveal such sensitive info to any outsider.

    If that is the case then the Doctor did nothing wrong. He was told to organize a Polio drive and obtain samples of people living in the house, which later turned out was OBLs. How is that against Pakistan or treason?

    Isn’t it actually good that OBL got killed? He should be celebrated not persecuted. It turns out even his wife is missing. What a tragedy.
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  • narayana murthy
    Feb 6, 2012 - 8:11AM

    So, this doctor is being charged for treason!!!!

    So what does that mean? OBL was a state guest, protected by the state. USA is an enemy country.

    I think Pakistani military establishments must be thanking their nukes for the current situation not exploding. But soon they will be cursing their nukes for the country’s implosion.

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  • Munda Baloch
    Feb 6, 2012 - 9:16AM

    If Pakistanis are so innocent, and and against terror then why so much hue and cry agaisnt this doctor who did a fantastic job ?

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  • Radial
    Feb 6, 2012 - 9:53AM

    How was it treason to help identify OBL and turn him over? Werent the Pakistani agencies and military supposedly trying to do that for 10 years while enjoying billions in the dollars of “aid” from the Americans? Did Dr. Afridi betray a Pakistani national interest by giving Americans intelligence about OBL’s location? If so, what does that say about Pakistan’s national interest…?

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  • Noor
    Feb 6, 2012 - 9:58AM

    Such a welcome step by our ever-green friends!

    Please grant US citizenship to all your friends including top industrialists(who are here just to mint money out of cheap labor & then dump in US/UK), politicians, people from establishment who have more sympathy with US than Pakistan.

    And please, don’t forget to place them on travel advisory / ECL to Pakistan again, because it is soooo unhealthy for them.

    In doing so you will prove to be our real evergreen friend by leaving only those people here who have their total stakes in Pakistan, so, they will be able to do sincerely for its welfare & progress.

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  • Abid Saleem
    Feb 6, 2012 - 10:06AM

    So OBL who killed thousands in Pakistan is not a traitor, but the doctor?

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  • RizwanTKhan
    Feb 6, 2012 - 10:08AM

    Dr. Afridi should be tried for treason and if proven guilty then should be awarded capital punishment.

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  • Doc Pollywood
    Feb 6, 2012 - 10:13AM

    Beware Dr. Shakeel Afridi. OBL helped the American like you did and see what happened to him.

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  • Viper
    Feb 6, 2012 - 10:39AM

    @Munda Baloch: It’s a good point you make. If Pakistan is also fighting the good fight, they should be pinning a medal on the coat of the good doctor who helped take down a dreaded terrorist. Instead he is being hounded as a traitor ! Shouldn’t Pakistan be on the same wavelength as the rest of the world? Isn’t it time to shelve the hypocrisy?

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  • Thakur
    Feb 6, 2012 - 10:48AM

    If Afridi deserves death for handing over Osama to the US then the by the same definition the ghairat brigade lot also deserve the same treatment for handing over yahoos like Libbi, et. al.

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  • Mohammad Inam
    Feb 6, 2012 - 10:59AM

    Hussain Haqqani’s wife is US citizen and there is Memogate. Dr. Shakil’s wife is US citizen and this case.

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  • BM
    Feb 6, 2012 - 11:03AM

    It would be interesting to note any right wing protests on this issue. They have always been declaring, and quite loudly, that OBL wasn’t present at this compound, so the doctor actually could not have committed this act of identification. Hence no issue, no crime right?

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  • vasan
    Feb 6, 2012 - 11:05AM

    I know, I got it now, After lots of thinking and reading the comments, I have found out the reason why the good doc is charged with treason. The bounty on OBL’s head was to be claimed by the Army at the appropriate time when the time and price are right. Since the good doc denied the funds to the Army, it must be treason.

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  • Naveed
    Feb 6, 2012 - 11:14AM

    If this story of Dr. Shakeel Afridi is true and he spied for a hostile agency, then he should be hanged 100 times, so that he became lesson for others. His Pakistani citizenship should be cancelled and I request Afridi tribe that he should be deported from the Afridi’s area.

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  • Feb 6, 2012 - 11:28AM

    @sidjeen: Being on the payroll of a foreign spy agency in your own country and providing them information that would result in invasion of that country by foreign forces would be considered treason. He should have passed on any information he had to ISI. Thats what you are missing darling!!!

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  • Insomniac
    Feb 6, 2012 - 11:40AM

    @nnk:
    Even mullah Omar would’ve done it, if he had known the perks of it.

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  • Syed
    Feb 6, 2012 - 11:59AM

    OBL was in killed in abottabad.. u sure about it?

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  • Ali
    Feb 6, 2012 - 12:08PM

    Everyone knows what the US does to its friends. Sadam and Qadaffi were both US friends at one point in time.

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  • Feb 6, 2012 - 1:01PM

    I would love to see Pakistan try and punish Dr. Shakil Afridi for finding the world’s most wanted terrorist.

    “Oh yes, Mr. President! We are 100% committed to hunting down terrorists! Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to go lynch the people who are actually carrying out this job.”

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  • farhan
    Feb 6, 2012 - 1:04PM

    Glad OBL is dead, I would’ve been happier if we would have hung him ourselves outside a wapda or sui gas office.

    Dana – an old hand at reaganomics, the same hand that has been dealt to us consistently over the last 30 years. He use to rub shoulders with OBL and co back in the day. Look at his stand on his “friends” now. He had tabled the Bill to stop aid to Pakistan (not a bad idea) but give you an idea how he thinks about our nation. The list goes on.

    All said, I think Afridi should take up the offer and get out before he ends up six feet under for the good work done. I guess once the deal is done with taliban, all gitmo inmates may have a shot at driving cabs in NY. Happy days.

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  • Feb 6, 2012 - 3:11PM

    What dr shakeel did might be important for rest of the world but not for Pakistani poor kids,, coz the means dr used to access obl home was a fake polio campaign just look at the statistics of the polio cases before and after this incident, he betrayed the great human cause of polio free pakistan for his personal interest and benefits (50 m $). Would USA now offer a similar citizenship package to those polio effected children n their families ??

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  • MUNIB
    Feb 6, 2012 - 4:03PM

    Shakeel Afridi is PAK hero . . . and only in PAK a true hero is to be humiliated but TERRORISTs can roam free

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  • Abu Muhammad
    Feb 6, 2012 - 5:24PM

    thanks Mr. Afridi if this news is correct that will enhance our knowledge that your name is also include with Mir Jaffer and Saddeqs

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  • Its (still) Econonmy Stupid
    Feb 6, 2012 - 5:26PM

    I think the good Doctor should get a UN citizenship for doing the world a favour. History will treat him in good light. In the history treason charge against the Docotor will always be a black mark for Pakistan.

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  • Coolbreeze
    Feb 6, 2012 - 7:19PM

    America: pls pls take away all of your stooges from our soil.

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  • F K
    Feb 6, 2012 - 7:23PM

    Besides hurting the non-political vaccination efforts of NGOs in the region, I am not really sure what negative impact Dr. Afridi has had on Pakistan or Pakistani society. OBL was considered a terrorist by the US and also by Pakistan. His crime was working for another country’s government but its no where near being treasonous.

    The US does a lot of wrong, but I admire that they are trying to get Dr. Afridi citizenship after he helped them. In Pakistan, we have still not managed (or even attempted) to bring back Biharis in Bangladesh who gave up everything supporting a United Pakistan. MQM has taken a few steps in this matter but has thwarted by others saying that they are trying to increase their vote bank. At the end of the day, many Biharis are still living in camps in Bangladesh.

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  • bangash
    Feb 6, 2012 - 7:34PM

    The dream of every Pakistani.

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  • Khan
    Feb 6, 2012 - 10:04PM

    Bytheway, goto congressmans fb page and see what he calls us.

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  • Khan
    Feb 6, 2012 - 10:22PM

    There are millions of Pakistanis who would like to become US citizens.

    Would you like to include our names in the list too? :-)

    Just announce a special citizenship bill for Pakistanis and you will see a big line outside US embassy and consulates, all desperate to leave Pakistan for good and head for the land of opportunity.Recommend

  • Harry Stone
    Feb 6, 2012 - 10:27PM

    @Anon:

    You mean greater ill will than already exists? What is PAK going to do start open conflicit with the US and NATO

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  • SM
    Feb 6, 2012 - 10:45PM

    Mind your business Mr. Congressman

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  • G. Din
    Feb 7, 2012 - 12:08AM

    @SM:
    “Mind your business Mr. Congressman”
    This is very much his business!

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  • Aimal
    Feb 7, 2012 - 2:41AM

    @RBI:
    For genetic comparison the DNA sample from a family member like a brother is enough. It does not have to be Osama’s DNA. Osama’s brother lived in the USA for a long time.

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  • KH Mian
    Feb 7, 2012 - 4:53AM

    Not only Dr Shakil Afridi but one and all Pakistanis should be awarded US Citizenship for fighting US war in the heart of Asia.Recommend

  • Zeena Pasha
    Feb 7, 2012 - 5:51AM

    I think the best move for Pakistan is to just let Dr Afridi be given free passage to safety the more we spend time we open the big wound of SHAME that Osama Bin Laden was living in a protected house in the middle of the industrial military complex while we Pakiatani were downloading pirated Bollywood movies or texting on Facebook. Pakistan was viewed as a country of imbeciles when the most wanted man was living in Pakistan and our military intelligence looked dazed and confused by the swift American Seal action where more was achieved and very little was talked about and discussed. We are a nation that talks big and look around you the chaos and calamity speaks of our action where we have not been able to even get regular utilities and power blackouts are the norm of the day.
    So lets go back to the downloading pirated software and Bollywood films we at least seem to be good at that!

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  • American Pakistani
    Feb 7, 2012 - 5:55AM

    he can get citizenship of the moon but after he answers pakistani establishment about his “deeds” and serves his time in prison for being an uncool pakistani.

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  • Tim Hover
    Feb 7, 2012 - 10:34AM

    Why the US soldier who leaked Wikileaks is facing court marshal and Dr shakeel is glorified by this headless congressman??

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  • Sarah Palin MILF
    Feb 8, 2012 - 12:11AM

    @ Tim Hover YOU are comparing apples & oranges a soldier while on duty stole data and gave it to Wikileaks no matter which side you are on Dr Shakeel helped in ending the terror life of OBL .….do the math!

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  • Truth Seeker
    Feb 8, 2012 - 9:02AM

    Let me explain the whole thing by an analogy.

    A sweeper finds a priceless lost jewel while cleaning and instead of returning the jewel to its owner, he sells it for couple of bucks. Now, should we reward him for finding the priceless jewel or prosecute him for selling it illegally. Rewarded? Definitely, had he returned the jewel to the owner. Prosecuted? Depends; if you believe in the rule of law, he must be; if you live in a jungle and governed by whims then maybe not.

    Here is Dr. Shakil Afridi, who’s role and importance in this whole episode is nothing more than that of a sweeper. He was required by the law to inform the authorities when contacted by a foreign intelligence agancy, irrespective of how noble the cause it was. Instead of fulfilling his duties as a loyal citizen of the state and a paid employee of the government, in utter disregard for the law and out of greed for some bucks, he chose to work for a foreign spy agency. And you know, people who work for foreign spy agencies are not referred to as “Heroes”, rather …..

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  • vasan
    Feb 8, 2012 - 11:52AM

    Truth seeker: Your analogy is pretty awful.
    1. For a start, the owner, first off all, did not accept that the jewel was in his house. He claimed that the jewel was in neighbour’s house
    2. The servant since he was very obedient and honest, did not want to let the owner down, So he gave it to the “so called” cops, who had the authorisation to grab the jewel.
    3. The most important point is this, We all thought that the servant caught a snake, Therefore he turned it over to the snake killer. To treat the snake as jewel, exposes your mentality.

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