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US Congress pushes for Dr Shakil Afridi's release: report

Updated February 26, 2015


Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track down former al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden - AFP/File
Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track down former al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden - AFP/File

WASHINGTON: The US Congress on Wednesday discussed a prohibition on giving Pakistan aid worth $500 million while pressing for the release of Dr Shakil Afridi, said a report published on the BBC.

The US State Department budget in 2016 for international affairs recommended approximately $900 million for Pakistan, out of which $500 million is for countering terrorism.

In order for the budget to be passed, the Congress must approve it with US Secretary of State John Kerry present to answer all questions by Congressmen regarding the budget.

A lawmaker from California Dana Rohrabacher shared his views and said that America's biggest friends are those who consider America's enemy, their enemy. He added that the man who helped America find Osama bin Laden is held in jail in Pakistan.

Take a look at: Shakil Afridi: From government doctor to anti-state agent

"Despite this the administration wants to give this country $500 million, who has slapped us in the face by keeping Afridi in jail," said Rohrabacher.

Also read: Shakil Afridi’s family wants immediate ‘evacuation’: report

Dr Shakil Afridi, the 51-year old physician is considered a hero in the United States for his role in the May 2011 SEAL Team 6 raid that killed the Al Qaeda leader.

In response to the Congressman, Kerry said that the matter was raised before former president Asif Ali Zardari and current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that keeping Afridi in jail is an injustice and against the principles of the US which the country upholds.

"This matter can be solved through repeated talks and diplomacy," explained Kerry.

Read more: Congress rejects move to stop US funding for Pakistan

Afridi has been sentenced to jail for 23 years for allegedly having links with terrorist groups. In the previous budget as well, around three million dollars were withheld to pressurise Pakistan to free Afridi.