WASHINGTON: Senator Rand Paul’s amendment to stop US assistance to Pakistan has been blocked in the Senate.
Senator Rand Paul, a member of the Tea Party, had introduced an amendment to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (aka the farm bill) asking for all US foreign assistance to Pakistan to cease until Dr Shakil Afridi was released and all charges against him were dropped. But Majority leader Senator Harry Reid struck it down.
While debating the farm bill in Senate, Senator Paul objected to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s move to ask for unanimous consent to introduce other amendments for debate. Senator Paul asked for his amendment to be debated, and said, “I don’t think we should continue to send US taxpayer money in the form of foreign aid to Pakistan when they are holding in prison a doctor who simply helped us to get bin Laden.”
Senator Paul added that the case was a political one, which could be influenced by US actions. “I think the US taxpayers should not send money to Pakistan when Pakistan is holding this innocent man who helped us get one of the world’s most dangerous men, a mass murderer who killed 3,000 Americans. We captured him with help from Dr Shakil Afridi, and Dr Afridi deserves our help now.”
Dr Shakil Afridi had helped the CIA ascertain the identity of Osama Bin Laden in the Abbotabad compound under the cover of a vaccination drive. Earlier this month, Dr Afridi was sentenced to 33 years of imprisonment under the FCR for helping the militant organisation Lashkar-e-Islam.
But the amendment was not allowed to stand. Responding to Senator Paul, Senator Reid said, “we are on a bill now that just simply does not allow something like that to come forward.”
He added that there were other problems on Pakistan which included the GLOCs that had been debated already in the Foreign Relations Committee. However, he added that there was a time and place for everything, “hopefully, we can have a full debate on our relations with Pakistan in the near future.”
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