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White House wants Pak to release Afridi

The White House has said that Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped CIA trace Osama bin Laden, was not working against Pakistan but al-Qaeda and should not have been held.

'Anyone who assisted the United States in the effort to bring Osama bin Laden to justice was working against al-Qaeda but certainly not Pakistan,' the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference on Tuesday.

'We have made our views known that the doctor in question here should not be held, that he did nothing that would justify him being held and we're certainly consulting with the Pakistani government on this matter,' Carney said. The State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland echoed Carney at her daily press briefing.

Senator Rand Paul announced on Tuesday that he will introduce legislation in the Senate to strip Pakistan of all the US aid and to grant the Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi US citizenship for his help in hunting down bin Laden. 'Pakistan must understand that they are choosing the wrong side. They accuse Dr. Afridi of working against Pakistan, but he was simply helping the US capture the head of al-Qaeda.

Meanwhile, the State Department has announced that Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Tara D Sonenshine is travelling to Islamabad and Lahore from 30 May to 2 June. During her visit, Sonenshine will engage with civil society and emphasise people-to-people ties.
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