No basis for holding Dr Shakil Afridi: Hillary
Washington: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that there is no basis for Pakistan to hold
up a doctor who helped the US in nabbing Osama bin laden.
Dr Shakil Afridi has been incarcerated by Pakistan since
the May 2 raid that killed bin Laden.
"I agree that there is no basis for holding Dr Afridi or
any of his staff," Hillary said at a Congressional hearing
"In fact, I think his work on behalf of the effort to
take down bin Laden was in Pakistan`s interest, as well as the
US`s interest. We have made that view very well known. We will
continue to press it," she said.
"And you know, it is going to be taken into account as we
move forward," Clinton said indicating that the US is closely
watching how Dr Afridi is being treated by Pakistan.
Hillary was responding to questions from Congressman Dana
Rohrabacher, who recently introduced a resolution in the House
of Representatives to give the rare Congressional Gold Medal
to Dr Afridi.
"If they do not let Dr Afridi go -- let me just put
everybody on notice here and I believe that we`re going to be
watching this closely -- there is nothing that could suggest
that Pakistan is cooperating with us in the fight against
terrorism when they have Dr Afridi -- the man who helped us
get Osama bin laden -- in prison and are treating him this
way. That is their decision of non-cooperation," Rohrabacher
Rohrabacher said it is now illegal for the government of
Pakistan to receive any aid money from the US unless the
Secretary of State certifies that Pakistan is cooperating with
the United States in counterterrorism efforts and preventing
terrorists from basing their operations in Pakistan.
"Well, of course, the one Pakistani who did cooperate
with us was Dr Afridi, who was the medical doctor who helped
provide the information that led our Navy SEALs to where Osama
bin Laden was hiding," he said.
The senator said that Dr Afridi now has been arrested by
the Pakistani government and is facing a treason charge, while
his property has been confiscated, his office staff been fired
and he`s being called a national criminal by that government.
"So can you certify -- are you able to certify that
Pakistan is cooperating with us as long as Dr Afridi -- the
man who helped us get Osama bin Laden -- is in custody and
being charged with treason?" Rohrabacher asked.
Hillary, however, did not directly respond to this