`Pak doctor, Afridi, should not have been held`

The White House has said that Shakil Afridi was not working against Pakistan but al Qaeda and should not have been held.

Washington: The White House has said that Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped CIA trace Osama bin Laden, was not working against Pakistan but al Qaeda and should not have been held.

"Anyone who assisted the United States in the effort to bring Osama bin Laden to justice was working against al Qaeda but certainly not Pakistan," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference yesterday.

"We have made our views known that the doctor in question here should not be held, that he did nothing that would justify him being held and we`re certainly consulting with the Pakistani government on this matter," Carney said.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland echoed Carney at her daily press briefing.

"With regard to Dr Afridi, I think the Secretary (of State Hillary Clinton) was extremely clear last week about what we think about this, that he shouldn`t have been locked up or charged in the first place," she said.

"We`ve been absolutely clear, publicly and privately, that we think it`s wrong he`s locked up, we think it`s wrong that he`s being prosecuted and that in fact the role that he played did a service not only for the world and the United States but obviously for the security of Pakistan. This (Osama) was one of the biggest killers out there," Nuland said.

Meanwhile, the State Department has announced that Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara D Sonenshine is travelling to Islamabad and Lahore from May 30 to June 02.

During her visit, Sonenshine will engage with civil society and emphasise people-to-people ties shared between the US and Pakistan, it said.

"She will meet with young Pakistani entrepreneurs and female students to discuss the shared goal of empowerment and to discuss ways to unlock their full potential.”

"She will also meet with Pakistani alumni of US State Department exchange programmes," the State Department said.