`Afridi`s actions jeopardised Pak polio campaign`

Sherry Rehman said that Dr Shakil Afridi was charged and convicted for supporting and working with Lashkar-e-Islam.

Washington: Actions of Shakil Afridi, the doctor who helped track Osama bin Laden, have "seriously jeopardised" Pakistan`s efforts to fight polio, the top Pakistani diplomat here told US lawmakers.

Sherry Rehman, the Pakistan`s ambassador to the United States, met Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and senators Rand Paul and James Rische at the Capitol Hill yesterday.

When senators expressed concern over the continued detention of Afridi, Rehman said "the physician did not even know if the job he was contracted for by CIA was meant to nab the al Qaeda leader. Afridi`s actions have seriously jeopardised Pakistan`s efforts to fight disease and polio, particularly among children."

Rehman`s comments have come close on the heels of Pakistani Taliban`s ban on polio vaccinations in North Waziristan.

They have expressed fear that CIA could use the polio campaign for spying.

Rehman told the senators that Afridi was charged and convicted by Political Administration in Khyber Agency for supporting and working with Lashkar-e-Islam, a terrorist organisation responsible for killing innocent civilians and law enforcement personnel.

Informing the Senators that an appeal process exists and Afridi`s lawyers are reportedly appealing against the conviction, Rehman stressed that Pakistan has an independent judiciary which functions pursuant to the Constitution and in accordance with the laws of Pakistan.

The government was, therefore, not in a position to interfere in the judicial process, she said.


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