Washington, May 26: The Obama administration has joined lawmakers in condemning the conviction of Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi, who helped the CIA trace Osama Bin Laden, leaving Pakistan isolated in the corridors of power in the U.S. capital.
America’s top two “Pakistan friendly” foreign policy makers – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator John Kerry – have also denounced a tribal court’s decision to jail Dr Shakil Afridi for 33 years, reports The Dawn.
Clinton called the judgment “unjust and unwarranted” and Senator Kerry said even though he believed in “the importance of the U.S.-Pakistan strategic relationship, realities like these make that effort more difficult”.
“We regret both the fact that he was convicted and the severity of his sentence. We are raising his case and we will continue to do so because we think that his treatment is unjust and unwarranted,” Clinton said.
She pointed out that Dr Afridi “was instrumental in taking down one of the world’s most wanted murderers. That was clearly in Pakistan’s interest, as well as ours and the rest of the world’s”.
Senator Kerry said, “The irony is, the only person being punished is the person who helped the United States achieve justice for the murder of thousands of Americans.”
A senate panel has deducted 33 million dollars from a proposed assistance to Pakistan – 1 million dollars for each year Dr Afridi will spend in jail.
A senior Pakistani diplomat who spent a day in the Congress House noted that wherever he went, he confronted a “bipartisan anger at Pakistan from very angry congressmen and women”.
The U.S. lawmakers, he pointed out, “are not interested in our arguments, even though we tried to argue that no country allows foreign governments, even if friendly, to engage spies”.
Other diplomats also noted that no friends in the House were willing to speak for Pakistan.
“Isolate Pakistan seems to be the new plan. U.S.-Pakistan relationship is entering a very bad phase,” said one of them. (ANI)