While demands on Dr Shakeel Afridi’s release and designating the Haqqani Network as a terrorist organisation continues in the US Congress as they prepare to go into a month long recess, Ambassador Sherry Rehman met with the Democratic Party’s Leader of the Senate Senator Harry Reid on Monday.
The two discussed Pakistan’s role in improving the regional security situation, said a spokesperson for Pakistan’s Embassy in a statement.
“Ambassador Rehman briefed the Senator on Pakistan’s efforts to improve relations with the neighbouring countries Afghanistan and India. She also thanked him for his personal contributions and efforts to strengthen relations between the two countries,” said the spokesperson.
The meeting was part of their ongoing effort to “apprise the US leadership on the Hill of Pakistan’s position and concerns on the bilateral and regional developments”, according to the spokesperson.
Last week, the US House voted to approve a cut of $650 million of Coalition Support Fund payments to Pakistan. The House also voted to ask the Secretary of State to submit a report asking if the Haqqani Network met the criteria of a Foreign Terrorist Organisation.
Additionally, Senator Rand Paul said last week that he would force a vote on cutting all assistance to Pakistan unless Dr Afridi is freed, and that he has support on this issue. The Senate has yet to pass all three bills.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2012.