The US Congress has adopted an amendment in a bill for next year’s defence expenditures. The bill also contains demand for the release of Dr. Shakil Afridi, who helped the CIA track down former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2012.
Dr Shakil Afridi had assisted US intelligence agency by running a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad which led to the hunt of Osama bin Laden by US forces. Bin Laden was killed in the raid on his compound in Abbotabad on May 22, 2012.
Afridi was arrested by Pakistani authorities from Peshawar where he is still in custody under high security.
He was convicted of treason for alleged ties to militants and jailed for 33 years in May 2012. However, a tribunal reduced the 33-year imprisonment to 23 years in March this year.
The US has been demanding Afridi’s release, attaching it with Pakistan’s aid.
Under the fresh amendment, $590 billion have been allocated for US defence for the next fiscal year.
The amendment says “Afridi’s non-release is affecting Pak-US relations.” Besides demands for Afridi’s release, the defence bill also seeks Pakistan’s assurance that the aid would not be used against country’s minorities.
The bill was passed by the house with 325 votes in favour and 98 against it.