Washington: The U.S. Senate has defeated a bill that would have denied American aid to Pakistan till the release of imprisoned Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi, who helped the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) track down Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden to Abbottabad.
The bill, introduced by Senator Rand Paul, was defeated by 81 to 10 votes. The bill also called for cutting all U.S. aid to Libya and Egypt till those who were responsible for the attacks on American missions in the two countries were arrested and handed over to the U.S., reports The News.
Dr Afridi was sentenced to 33 years in jail in Pakistan on May 24 under the system of tribal justice for treason over alleged ties to the Lashkar-e-Islam and not for working for the CIA, for which the court said it did not have the jurisdiction.
Following the defeat of his bill, Paul vowed to keep this important issue on the front and in the centre.
"When nearly 80 percent of Americans believe foreign aid should be reduced - especially to the countries that are not our allies - it is inconceivable why their views are ignored by so many in Congress," Paul said.
"I am far from defeated on this; I will continue to fight for this issue when Congress returns, and I will continue to call attention to the billions of American dollars - borrowed from China, among other places - being sent to governments that are not willing to respect and protect our interests overseas," he added.
Earlier, Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar had said Americans should not treat Dr Afridi as a hero.
"We feel Dr Shakil Afridi should be no hero to the Americans. He did not know the Herculean task that he was trying to do. He did not know that he was going after Osama Bin Laden," she had said.
"He was a man who was up for hire by anybody who was willing to pay him, and that included Islamic and terrorist organisations, which were using him to move and work against your and our interests. So he was no hero," Khar added.