WASHINGTON: US Congress bill calls for Afridi’s release

The US Congress has taken up an amendment in a card for next year’s defense expenditures.

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The card also contains demand for the release of Dr. Shakil Afridi, who aided the CIA track down former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2012.

Afridi had helped US intelligence agency by working a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad which led to the hunt of Osama bin Laden by US military units.

Bin Laden was killed in the raid on his compound in Abbotabad on May 22, 2012.
Afridi was arrested by Pakistani authorities from Peshawar where he is all the same in custody under high protection.

He was convicted of treason for alleged ties to militants and jailed for 33 years in May 2012. All the same, a tribunal reduced the 33-year imprisonment for 23 years in March this year.

The US has been demanding Afridi’s release, binding it with Pakistan’s help.

Under the fresh amendment, $590 billion has been allocated for US defense for the following financial year.

The amendment says “Afridi’s non-release is affecting Pak-US relations.” Besides demands for Afridi’s release, the defence bill also seeks Pakistan’s assurance that the aid would not be used against country’s minorities.

The measure was drawn by the house with 325 votes in favor and 98 against it.

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