ISLAMABAD, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan on Monday criticized a U. S. decision to make some aid to the country conditional with the release of a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, who has reportedly helped the CIA to reach Osama bin Laden.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Bill 2014, approved by US Congress, which says Washington could withhold US$ 33 million of its allotted aid to Pakistan until Secretary of State John Kerry certifies that Shakil Afridi has been released and cleared of all charges.
The doctor was earlier handed down 33-year jail term for ' conspiring against the state.' But officails later said he was jailed for helping a banned militant group. The punishment was then overturned over procedural errors. But new orders were issued for a retrial. Afridi was also charged in a murder case.
"We are disappointed that the bill proposes to withhold US$ 33 million from assistance on account of Dr. Shakil Afridi's detention," the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"Dr. Shakil Afridi, a citizen of Pakistan, is accused of having violated the country's laws. His action also caused immense damage to the polio campaign in the country. His case is sub judice and he remains entitled to due process under the law," the statement said.
The Foreign Ministry stressed that any linkage of US assistance to this case is not in keeping with the spirit of cooperation between the two countries.
"Pakistan and the United States are engaged in building a close, cooperative relationship, based on mutual respect and mutual interest. It is our hope that this process would continue to move forward in a constructive manner," the statement said.