Congress Moves To Cut Aid To Pakistan Following It Imprisoning Doctor That Helped U.S. Find Bin Laden
Washington, D.C. -
The Senate today approved cutting $33 million in financial aid to Pakistan after Pakistan sentenced Dr. Shakil Afridi to 33 years for assisting the CIA in finding Osama bin Laden saying any other country would have done the same if they found a foreign spy in their own territory.
The move comes after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried unsuccessfully to have Afridi released saying that the jailing on Wednesday of Shakil Afridi for at least 30 years was "unjust and unwarranted". Afridi must also pay $3,500 in fines, if he can not, he must spent an extra 3 years in prison.
The amount cut is less than the one-half originally floated, but lawmakers have said they will cut even deeper if Pakistan does not respond favorably.
During his court proceedings at the tribal Khyber district court, Afridi was not allowed to have a lawyer, nor was he able to present evidence or question his accusers or witnesses.
Afridi is said to have ran a fake vaccination camp in Abbottabad for the CIA while quietly collecting DNA samples in the hope one of the samples would be that of Bin Laden. The U.S. already had DNA samples of Osama bin Laden and that of his close relatives to compare to.
After the U.S. launched a special operation by the Navy Seals to kill bin Laden, Pakistan called it a violation of their sovereignty. Shortly after Pakistani police arrived on the scene in the aftermath of the U.S. raid, Afridi was arrested, and was quietly charged under the country's tribal laws for treason.
Secretary Clinton said in remarks Thursday, "The United States does not believe there is any basis for holding Dr [Shakil] Afridi. We regret the fact that he was convicted and the severity of his sentence."
The two so called "allies" have also failed to reach an agreement over reopening NATO re-supply routes through Pakistan into Afghanistan. It was closed after a U.S. drone accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in 2011 Pakistan has also called for the end of drone strikes on its territory saying the U.S. is infringing on its territory.
Pakistan is now demanding $5,000 per truck that uses the route, significantly up from the $250 bucks it was charging.