… it just awarded Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, a medal worth 33 years of jail time. If folks complain that the medal is such a weighty reward for helping capture the most notorious terrorist of our time, just pause and think — the reward could have been a lot bigger or swifter. No, not a bigger medal, obviously; but Dr. Afridi could have been put to death by suspension by the neck, also known as hanging, reportedly the only legal method of execution in Pakistan. So putting him in jail obviously, if you’re watching clearly, is a gesture of friendship.
Below via NYT:
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A Pakistani doctor who helped the Central Intelligence Agency pin down Osama bin Laden’s location under cover of a vaccination drive was convicted on Wednesday of treason and sentenced to 33 years in prison, a senior official in Pakistan said.
A tribal court here in northwestern Pakistan found the doctor, Shakil Afridi, guilty of acting against the state, said Mutahir Zeb Khan, the administrator for the Khyber tribal region. Along with the jail term, the court imposed a fine of $3,500. Dr. Afridi, who may appeal the verdict, was then sent to Central Prison in Peshawar.
He had been charged under a British-era regulation for frontier crimes that unlike the national criminal code does not carry the death penalty for treason. Under Pakistani penal law, Dr. Afridi almost certainly would have received the death penalty, a Pakistani lawyer said.
“The doctor was never asked to spy on Pakistan,” said a senior American official with knowledge of counterterrorism operations against Al Qaeda in Pakistan. “He was asked only to help locate Al Qaeda terrorists, who threaten Pakistan and the U.S. He helped save Pakistani and American lives.”
It looks like Pakistan does not see it that way. And this is when we say — well, even “friends” occasionally disagree, correct?
As further proof of that, our “friends” would reportedly allow us to bring in supply trucks from Karachi, on Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast, to the Afghan border (blocked since November when two dozen Pakistani soldiers were killed in an U.S. air strike from Afghanistan) for a transit free of “upward of $5000.” Now, don’t get mad because $5,000 is really a great deal for “friends” only, especially considering that the air route cost per container through the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan is $15,800.
Of course, these are the same “friends” who already receive top US dollars in aid. Further, under the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, Pakistan is slated to receive $1.5 billion in annual nonmilitary aid from FY2010 through FY2014. So even the senators over at the Armed Service Committee did not like the ka-ching sound of that transit fee. “I think that’s called extortion,” Senate Armed Services Committee ranking Republican John McCain (R-AZ) told The Cable yesterday. “We can’t look at aid in that light. It’s now becoming a matter of principle.”
The Congressional Research Service reported in April that “Since 1948, the United States has pledged more than $30 billion in direct aid, about half for military assistance. Two-thirds of this total was appropriated in the post-9/11 era from FY2002 to FY2011. Many observers question the gains accrued to date, viewing a lack of accountability and reform by the Pakistani government as major obstacles. Moreover, any goodwill generated by U.S. aid is offset by widespread anti-American sentiment among the Pakistani people.”
Hump! The CRS what do they know, huh?
Meanwhile, in Islamabad, the news is that a “constitutional petition” has reportedly been filed in the Supreme Court yesterday “to restrain the authorities from constructing huge building structure and secret bunkers in the basement of American Embassy’s premises.”
The Nation says that Lt Col (Retd) Inam-ul-Rehim filed the petition under Article 199 of the Constitution. “His point is that the US government is bent upon to weaken Pakistan and destroy or to take over the possession of its atomic assets.”
The complainant is asking that “a high-level commission be constituted comprising persons of high repute from retired judges of Supreme Court or High Courts, lawyers of high repute and civil engineers to visit the site of US embassy building and submit a detailed report before the apex court.”
And here’s the lesson for the day on friendship:
Friends let friends put each others do-gooders in jail, not hang them.
On money matters, friends give each other a discount when appropriate.
Best of all — friends let friends inspect each others bunkers.
- Shakil Afridi, doctor who helped CIA track bin Laden, sentenced to 33 years for treason in Pakistan (mcclatchydc.com)
- Pakistani doctor jailed for helping U.S. find Osama bin Laden (theglobeandmail.com)
- Pakistan jails doctor who helped CIA find Bin Laden – BBC News (bbc.co.uk)
- Shakil Afridi, doctor who helped CIA track bin Laden, sentenced to 33 years for treason in Pakistan (miamiherald.com)
- Pakistani doctor who helped CIA find Osama bin Laden jailed for treason – ABC News (abcnews.go.com)