ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Sunday fended off criticism over the conviction of a physician who helped the CIA smoke out Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad last year, saying he could defend himself in the higher courts under the country’s existing laws.
During an interview with Geo News, the premier said that although Dr Afridi’s actions were “wrongful”, he should still hope for justice through normal courts.
Dr Afridi was sentenced to 33 years for treason, last week. He was sacked as a government doctor two months ago and was found guilty under the tribal justice system in Khyber district, part of Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt.
To another question regarding Pakistan’s relations with the US, Gilani said talks were under way between the two allies as far as reopening of Nato supply lines was concerned. The prime minister insisted relations between two countries could not be based on an incident but on solid grounds.
The prime minister said there was no restriction on dual citizenship in the constitution and he was in favour of expatriate Pakistanis getting the right to vote and becoming members of parliament.
He said that more than 300 councillors, mayors and members of House of Commons and House of Lords in Britain were Pakistanis.
“There should be a debate on the issue of dual citizenship and parliament should decide the issue and legislate,” he said adding expatriates should not be stripped of the right to become members of parliament and voters in Pakistan.
“I am in favour of it. OverseasPakistanis should have the right to vote and become members of parliament.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2012.