Washington, Sept. 21: In meetings with Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Relations Committee, Senator John Kerry, has sought assurances from Islamabad to find terrorists, Al-Qaeda leaders and their affiliates, and urged the latter “not to look the other way” in this context.
According to The News, Kerry further said that Washington is looking forward to having better “assistance in intelligence gathering and sharing” with Islamabad.
Kerry also said that the United States is concerned about the continued incarceration of Dr Shakil Afridi, the man who allegedly helped the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) track down Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden to the garrison town of Abbottabad in Pakistan.
Kerry announced that “a legal process was underway to report on what happened with Osama bin Laden”.
Among many other contentious issues between the two countries, Dr Afridi has become a primary sticking point recently. Pakistan has already claimed that Dr Afridi was a free agent working for the highest bidder, while some high level officials here believe that Dr Afridi helped the U.S. nab Bin Laden and should not be held behind bars.
Underscoring the sensitivity of the Afridi issue, Senator Rand Paul, earlier on Wednesday, wrote a letter to the members of the House of Representatives and his colleagues in Senate asking for their support in passing a bill that seeks to cut all American aid to Pakistan. The bill he introduced seeks release of Dr. Afridi.
However, Kerry slammed this move and told the gathering present at the stakeout that “some people” want to block all financial aid to Pakistan but “we’re not going to do this.” (ANI)