Washington: A US senator has announced that he would introduce a bill stripping Pakistan of all foreign aid unless Dr Shakil Afridi, imprisoned for helping the CIA track Osama bin Laden, is released by the country.
According to Fox News, Senator Rand Paul said he would introduce a pair of bills next week to address Dr Afridi's plight. One bill would strip Pakistan, which received USD 2.1 billion from the US for the current fiscal year, of all foreign aid until Dr Afridi's 33-year sentence is overturned and he is allowed to leave the country; while the other bill would seek to grant Dr Afridi’s US citizenship.
"Pakistan must understand that they are choosing the wrong side. They accuse Dr Afridi of working against Pakistan, but he was simply helping the US capture the head of al Qaeda. Surely Pakistan is not linking their interests with those of an international terrorist organisation," Paul said in a statement.
"Foreign aid has been an abysmal failure precisely for this reason, we give the aid to governments who then turn and work against our national interest. That must end," he added.
The Obama administration, meanwhile, appeared unwilling to budge from its talking points on the issue, despite an impassioned plea for US intervention from Dr Afridi's family, reports Fox News.
"The blame has been placed on my brother because of America. We should get justice and protection," said Dr Afridi's brother, Jamil Afridi.
Jamil claimed Pakistani authorities had tortured his brother. According to him, the family is still being denied visits to Dr Afridi in jail.
First Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 11:06