‘Afridi`s sentencing does not help US-Pak ties’
Washington: The 33 years sentencing of a Pakistani physician, who helped the CIA in tracing whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, does not help the effort to reestablish the "most complicated" relationship between the US and Pakistan, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Sunday.
"It`s so difficult to understand and so disturbing that they would sentence this doctor to 33 years for helping in the search for the most notorious terrorist in our times," Panetta told the ABC news in an interview.
"This doctor (Dr Shakil Afridi) was not working against Pakistan. He was working against al-Qaeda. And I hope that ultimately Pakistan understands that, because what they have done here, I think, you know, does not help in the effort to try to reestablish a relationship between the US and Pakistan," he said.
Responding to questions, Panetta said US-Pak ties is one of the most complicated relationship.
"This has been one of the most complicated relationships that we`ve had working with Pakistan. You know we have to continue to work at it. It is important. This is a country that has nuclear weapons. This is a country that still is critical in that region of the world. It`s an up and down relationship.
There have been periods where we`ve had good cooperation. And they have worked with us," he said.
Panetta added, "There have been periods where we`ve had conflict. But they`re dealing with the terrorist threat just like we are. So our responsibility here is to keep pushing them to understand how important it is for them to work with us to try to deal with the common threats we both face.
"And what they did with this doctor doesn`t help in the effort to try to do that," Panetta said.
When asked about the on-going negotiations with Pakistan on reopening of supply routes to Afghanistan, Panetta said he the US would only fair price.
"We`re going to pay a fair price. They`re negotiating what the price ought to be. You know clearly we`re not about to get gouged in the price. We want a fair price," Panetta said.
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