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Public Statements

Middle Class Tax Cut--Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, Dr. Shakil Alfridi is a physician in Pakistan. He has been put in prison for the rest of his life for the crime, basically, of helping the United States get bin Laden. I think it is a travesty of justice that Pakistan is holding this man for the crime of helping America, and I think we should not tolerate it.

We send Pakistan $2 billion a year, and recently, instead of withholding that, President Obama has given them an additional $1 billion--exactly the wrong thing to do. I have a bill that will withhold all further foreign aid to Pakistan unless this doctor is released.

There are reports now that his life has been threatened. There are reports coming from the Information Minister in the province where he is being held that his life has been threatened by fellow inmates and throughout the community.

My concern is that Dr. Alfridi may well be killed before he comes to trial. He was scheduled for an appeal on July 19. They have rescheduled this, and it will be on August 30.

I have a bill, and I have the votes necessary to demand a vote in the Senate. No matter what the leadership wants, we will have a vote on ending all of Pakistan's aid if this political prisoner, Dr. Shakil Alfridi, is not released. We will have this vote. I had threatened to have the vote this week, but I am going to delay it for one month to see if the appeal works, to see if he is still safe in 1 month. But I hate to think of what might happen to him while we are waiting here and that we have not used every bit of the leverage of this money that we give to Pakistan. It is our money, it is your money, and we should not be sending it to a country that disrespects us.

If Pakistan wants to be our ally, they should act like it. If Pakistan wants to work with us in the war on terrorism, they should act like it. And imprisoning the man who helped us get one of the world's worst mass murderers is not a way to encourage cooperation between our countries.

This episode of imprisoning this man is driving a wedge between America and Pakistan. So if Pakistan wants to help us, good. Can we cooperate with them? Yes. But we should not continue to send good money after bad while they are imprisoning this man. This doctor deserves our respect.

I have also introduced legislation that would allow him to come to the United States if there is a threat to his safety in Pakistan and if he wishes to come here as a reward for helping us get bin Laden.

This vote will happen either in early September or late August, depending on what happens with his appeal. I hope some common sense will intervene and they will let him go. But at the very least, Americans need to know that Pakistan needs to cooperate with us, Pakistan needs to help this man, and that we all should be proud of what he did to help us get bin Laden. I will do everything possible, everything I have within my limits, to get this vote to occur, and this will happen within the next month when his trial comes forward on August 30.

Mr. President, I yield back my time.


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