Paul Promises Reid He'll Try to Block Other Senate Business Unless Afridi Vote Scheduled
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that he would pursue any means necessary -- even blocking other Senate business -- to move forward on a bill that would freeze aid to Pakistan if an informant who helped in the hunt for Osama bin Laden is not released.
Dr. Shakil Afridi was sentenced in May to 33 years behind bars. His appeal dates keep being delayed as Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has raided the doctor's personal finances. Afridi described his brutal torture to Fox News in a phone call: “I tried to argue that America was Pakistan’s biggest supporter – billions and billions of dollars in aid, social and military assistance -- but all they said was, ‘These are our worst enemies. You helped our enemies.’”
"As you know, the United States Government currently gives Pakistan more than $2.1 billion annually in foreign aid, and the Obama Administration is now releasing an additional $1.2 billion," Paul wrote Reid yesterday. "No foreign government as blatantly defiant of American priorities as Pakistan should benefit from billions upon billions of American taxpayer dollars. It is time for that practice to come to an end."
Paul said it's now clear that Pakistan has no intention of offering Afridi justice, and therefore it's time to move on his legislation.
"Just this month the Director General of the ISI indicated it would be in the best interest of the United States to 'forget the matter of Dr. Afridi,'" Paul wrote. "I will not forget Dr. Afridi, and it is time for the Senate to show it has not forgotten—or turned a blind eye to—Dr. Afridi."
The freshman senator asked the majority leader in a July 12 letter to work with him to schedule a vote on freezing aid until Afridi is released, but no vote has been put on the calendar.
"As you know, the number of work days in the 112th Congress is dwindling, and Congress may break for the November election as soon as next week," Paul wrote. "Because of the urgency of seeing that Dr. Afridi is freed, I am prepared to pursue any and all means to secure a vote on my bill immediately, including objecting to other Senate business and recessing the Senate for the election."