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FM's conflicting views.

FOREIGN Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan expects the United States to 'respect our legal process as we respect yours' while speaking on the imprisonment of Dr Shakil Afridi, who was convicted by a tribal court in 2012. Speaking to Fox News, Qureshi said that the issue surrounding Afridi was not over as 'openings are always there (to discuss the matter further)', adding that the prisoner's fate lies with the courts and not in politics.

The views expressed by the Foreign Minister vis-a-vis the fate of Shakil Afridi, who was jailed for 33 years in May 2012 on charges of helping the CIA track down Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in May 2011, was conflicting as on the one hand he is asking the United States to respect the legal process in Pakistan and on the other hand he is talking about so-called 'openings'. It is because of such a confused or ill-conceived approach that foreign countries take Pakistan and its systems lightly. The United States has never listened seriously to Pakistan whenever it wanted to discuss the fate of Dr. Afia Siddiqui, who is languishing in US jail on fabricated charges on the plea that it cannot interfere with judicial process but we are always willing to accommodate American demands whether or not they are fair and justified.

Dr Shakil Afridi broke laws of the land and worked against the interests of Pakistan and that is why he has been sentenced after a legal process. Unending American pressure and interest to seek his release and repeated statements of US leaders on the subject clearly show Afridi is their man and they want to pay back for his 'services' by pressurising Pakistan for his release. The flexibility shown by Qureshi during the interview is not acceptable to people of Pakistan as there can't be any compromise when it comes to national security and interests.

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Publication:Pakistan Observer (Islamabad, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Oct 3, 2018
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