US Senator Rand Paul introduced legislation demanding US aid to Pakistan to be cut off unless Dr Shakil Afridi – sentenced in Pakistan for helping CIA locate al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden – is released, said a press release.
The legislation demanded that all US assistance to Pakistan be cut off unless Dr Afridi is released from prison, all charges against him are dropped and he is allowed to leave Pakistan.
Two bills were attached to the legislation. The first demanded Pakistan to overturn Dr Afridi’s 33-year prison sentence and allow him to leave the country, and the second asked granting Dr Afridi US citizenship for his efforts.
Earlier when Paul proposed the bill, he had said, “They accuse Dr Afridi of working against Pakistan, but he was simply helping the US capture the head of al Qaeda. Surely Pakistan is not linking their interests with those of an international terrorist organisation.”
The former government surgeon ran a fake vaccination programme designed to collect Bin Laden family DNA from the compound in the town of Abbottabad, where the al Qaeda leader was shot dead in a US raid in May 2011.
After his sentencing, a furious Senate Appropriations Committee voted to cut US aid to Pakistan by a symbolic $33 million – $1 million for each year of jail time.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the sentence was “unjust and unwarranted”, saying Dr Afridi was “instrumental in taking down one of the world’s most-wanted murderers”.