Senate defeats bill to place conditions on US aid to Pak
Washington: The US Senate Saturday overwhelmingly defeated a bill that would have denied American aid to Pakistan till the release of the imprisoned Pakistani doctor who helped CIA trace Osama bin Laden.
The bill (S 3576) was defeated by 81 to 10 votes.
Dr Shakil 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 Lashkar-e-Islam and not for working for the CIA, for which the court said it did not have jurisdiction.
Introduced by Senator Rand Paul, the bill also called for cutting all US aid to Libya and Egypt, till those who were responsible for attack on American missions in these two countries, were arrested and handed over to the US.
Following the defeat of his bill, which was opposed even by Senators from his own Republican party, Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky in a statement vowed to keep this important issue front and center.
"When nearly 80 per cent of Americans believe foreign aid should be reduced, especially to countries that are not our allies, it is inconceivable why their views are ignored by so many in Congress," he 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," Paul said.
Earlier, visiting Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that Afridi should not be treated as hero by Americans.
"We feel Dr Shakil Afridi should be no hero to the Americans. Dr Shakil Afridi did not know the herculean task that he was trying to do. He did know that he was going after Osama bin Laden.
"He was a man who was up for hire by anybody who was willing to pay him, and that included Islamic organisations, terrorist organisations, which were using him to move and work against your and our interests. So he was no hero," Khar said responding to a question at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
"What we have to do right now is to await the legal process to take its full course. And as people who believe in the rule of law, I think we should allow the process. He does have many appeal processes," she said.