Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02), a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA) and Vice-Chair of the Europe and Eurasia Subcommittee, issued the following statement after sending a letter to Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), Chairman of HCFA, regarding the plight of Dr. Shakil Afridi:
"Pakistan's hasty arrest, trial and sentencing of Dr. Shakil Afridi is an insult to all nations that have been victims of terrorism. Dr. Afridi was instrumental in helping us identify the location of top al Qaeda operatives and hunt down Osama bin Laden in a compound less than a mile from the Pakistan Military Academy. While I appreciate the significance of our strategic relationship with Pakistan, we must stand with Dr. Afridi by limiting our security-related assistance to Pakistan until he is set free."
Griffin's letter, which expresses concerns and offers recommendations, is part of his ongoing efforts with HCFA to push for Pakistan to release Dr. Afridi. In his letter, Griffin requests that Chairman Ros-Lehtinen include language in the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, or any security-related assistance legislation, that would limit security-related assistance to Pakistan until Dr. Shakil Afridi is released from prison. Last year, Pakistan received $1.2 billion in U.S. security-related assistance.
On May 24, 2012, Dr. Afridi was arrested and later sentenced to 33-years of imprisonment by the Pakistani government. The Pakistani government found him guilty, alleging "close links" to militant group Lashkar-e-Islam.