Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi told the Senate today (on Wednesday) that the United States has made no request to Pakistan to hand over Dr Shakeel Afridi, who was imprisoned for his alleged links to a banned militant group.
Dr Shakeel Afridi was accused of leaking of Osama Bin Laden whereabouts that led to US raid on Abbottabad compound but he was jailed to ties to outlawed outfit.
“There is no question of it. There is neither any pressure on us nor will we take the same,” Shehryar, the minister said, responding to a question by Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah, who said reports were emerging that the US had asked Pakistan to extradite Dr Afridi, the physician who allegedly helped the Central Intelligence Agency in tracking Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in an Abbottabad compound through a vaccination campaign. “Is there any pressure from America on the government regarding the matter of Shakeel Afridi?” the senator asked.
The State Minister for Interior further replied “There will be no compromise on national security,” he said, stressing that the government’s performance was out there for everyone to see. He said he was not aware of any extradition request made by Washington regarding Dr Afridi.
The minister said if request of extraditions is received from the US, it will be put in front of the parliament, but added that the matter would fall under provincial jurisdiction after the 18th Amendment. At this, Jamaat-e-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed disagreed, saying it was not appropriate to term Dr Afridi’s matter “a provincial issue”. “The same will be said about Kulbhushan [Jadhav] tomorrow,” he said, in a reference to the Indian spy who was sentenced to death in 2017 by a Pakistani military tribunal for his involvement in espionage.
“There is a difference between Shakeel Afridi and Kulbhushan,” was the state interior minister’s counterargument. Dr Afridi had been imprisoned at Peshawar Jail before he was shifted in April 2018 to Adiala Jail. In August, he was shifted to Sahiwal jail for security reasons.