Senator Rand Paul is threatening to hold up Senate business until the issue of Dr. Shakil Afridi, the jailed Pakistani doctor who helped the U.S. find Osama bin Laden, is brought to the floor. Here is the letter Sen. Paul sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (We’ll discuss this with Ambassador John Bolton on tonight’s ON THE RECORD at 10pm/ET…tune in.)
September 10, 2012
The Honorable Harry Reid
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Majority Leader Reid,
The appeal date for Dr. Shakil Afridi, who remains in Pakistani custody, has been delayed several times. While his next court date is set for Sept. 27, 2012, Dr. Afridi’s lawyers now believe that the repeated delays are nothing more than a stalling tactic by Pakistan’s intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Since his arrest, as recent media accounts have revealed, Dr. Afridi’s personal finances have been raided by the ISI, he has been kept in inhumane conditions, forced to sign false confessions under torture, and been subjected to a wave of false accusations made by persons who, in some cases, do not exist. All the while, Dr. Afridi maintains that he acted in support of the CIA’s Abbottabad vaccination operation out of “respect and love for” the American people, emphasizing that he was “proud to work with” the CIA.
As you know, the United States Government currently gives Pakistan more than $2.1 billion annually in foreign aid, and the Obama Administration is now releasing an additional $1.2 billion. No foreign government as blatantly defiant of American priorities as Pakistan should benefit from billions upon billions of American taxpayer dollars. It is time for that practice to come to an end.
For many months I have worked tirelessly to bring awareness to Dr. Afridi’s plight, and I have offered legislation to deny any current or future foreign assistance to the Pakistani government until they reverse course and free Dr. Afridi. It is now abundantly clear that Pakistan has no intention of pursuing a proper and just hearing for Dr. Afridi—in fact, just this month the Director General of the ISI indicated it would be in the best interest of the United States to “forget the matter of Dr. Afridi.” I will not forget Dr. Afridi, and it is time for the Senate to show it has not forgotten—or turned a blind eye to—Dr. Afridi.
In a letter dated July 12, 2012, I asked that you work with me to schedule a vote on my bill to end aid to Pakistan until Dr. Afridi is freed, S. 3269. As of today, that vote as not been scheduled. As you know, the number of work days in the 112th Congress is dwindling, and Congress may break for the November election as soon as next week. Because of the urgency of seeing that Dr. Afridi is freed, I am prepared to pursue any and all means to secure a vote on my bill immediately, including objecting to other Senate business and recessing the Senate for the election.
I hope you will work with me to ensure that Dr. Afridi’s situation is addressed on the Senate floor without delay.
Rand Paul, M.D.
United States Senator
CC: Hon. Barack Obama, President of the United States
Hon. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State
Amb. Sherry Rehman, Ambassador to the United States, Islamic Republic of Pakistan