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Pak asks US not to 'lionise' doctor who helped find Osama

Press Trust of India
Jul 10, 2012 at 10:20pm IST

Washington: Pakistan has asked the US not to "lionise" the doctor who helped in tracking down Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad as he had no knowledge about his mission -- to aid the American spy agency in hunt for the elusive al-Qeada chief.

"(Shakeel) Afridi was, number one, he had no knowledge that the goal that he was working for -- he knew he was contracting with a foreign intelligence agency, but he had no knowledge that he was seeking to bring Osama bin Laden in, number one. So let's not lionise him," Pakistan's ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman has said.

Afridi had been sentenced by a Pakistan court to 33 years in jail for helping the CIA track Osama by running a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad.

Pak asks US not to 'lionise' doctor who helped find Osama

Afridi had been sentenced by a Pakistan court to 33 years in jail for helping the CIA track Osama by running a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad.

The US has been pressing Pakistan to immediately release the doctor and stop treating him like a "criminal".

"They should release Dr Afridi," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had told the Charlie Rose Show. "This is something that is so unnecessary and gratuitous on their part."

"He was contracting with many terrorist outfits, at least one that we know of on the ground. He was even kidnapped by one, and he was in many transactions on the ground, all over the place.

He is one of many such people who have been convicted for such actions," Rehman told CNN in an interview.

"And his conviction is really for contracting with one of the terrorist groups that is waging or attempting to attack our soldiers. We've had several beheaded recently. Certainly our government would have considered a feather in our cap to get Osama bin Laden.

"We do not want to play host to terrorists, international terrorists... We are a resilient people, but it doesn't help to tell us to continue to do more. It is our fight as much as anyone else's, because we are committed to eliminating terrorism at its root and source," she said.

Osama has been killed in Pakistan in a surgical raid by US Special Operations Forces on his compound in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011.

Rehman also claimed that her country has not approved any US drone strikes on its territory in exchange for America's apology over the NATO cross border attack killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

"No, we have not agreed on anything. In fact, those conversations are yet to happen. As I said, the apology has opened the space for an opportunity where we can have constructive conversations that might be -- might – that might be to the satisfaction of both sides. Right now, we have given no go-ahead at all."

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