Pakistan has dismissed Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s assertion that it could be pressurized into releasing a jailed doctor who allegedly helped the US track down Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, saying that the country is not an “American colony”.
Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan rejected the demand of Trump to free Shakeel Afridi who allegedly helped CIA locate bin Laden presence in Abbotabad which led to his killing on May 2, 2011 in a covert US raid.
Afridi, in his 50s, was arrested after a news leak in the US that he carried out a fake vaccination campaign to get blood samples of bin Laden and family members.
He was first tried for treason but later convicted for his alleged links with the terror groups in hometown in tribal district of Khyber.
The US authorities have been pushing for his release and repatriation to the US ever since his arrest. Trump, in a recent interview had said he would ensure Afridi is freed from jail ‘within two minutes’ if he gets elected as US president.
“The government of Pakistan and not Donald Trump would take a decision about the fate of Shakeel Afridi,” Nisar said. “Contrary to Mr Trump’s misconception, Pakistan is not a colony of the United States of America. He should learn to treat sovereign countries with respect,” he added.
“Trump also seems to be ignorant, historically, of the huge scarifies Pakistan and its people have made while standing with or supporting US policies over the years,” Nisar said.
Trump had also said he planned to leverage US aid, “because we give a lot of aid to Pakistan. We give a lot of money to Pakistan.”
But the interior minister said the ‘peanuts’ the US had given in return should not be used to threaten or browbeat Pakistan into following Trump’s misguided vision of foreign policy.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan had withstood the pressure by the US on the issue of release of Afridi.
“We have rejected American pressure on Pakistan regarding Afridi, who helped the US trace Osama bin Laden. For the US he is a hero but for Pakistan he is a criminal,” he said.