Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who will be introducing bills after recess that include cutting off funding to Pakistan, told Greta Van Susteren last night that it’s about more than Shakil Afridi.
Paul’s bills would cut aid until Pakistan releases Afridi, sentenced to 33 years in prison for treason for helping the U.S. find Osama bin Laden, and would make Afridi a U.S. citizen.
The senator said he especially sympathized with Afridi as they’re both doctors and about the same age. “I don’t think we should give any taxpayer money to a government that’s imprisoning a guy who really ought to be treated as a hero,” Paul said.
But he noted that the reasons for cutting aid run deeper than the informant.
“I’m going to try to draw attention to this because I don’t think there’s any U.S. taxpayers out there that want their money being sent to Pakistan when Pakistan treats their people this way,” Paul said.
“Pakistan also has a woman in jail. She’s threatened with execution for blasphemy. She says she didn’t say it, but her co-worker said she said something about the Prophet. That’s not the kind of society we should be sending U.S. taxpayer dollars to.”
Paul criticized the Obama administration for not giving reward money promised for the capture of bin Laden, but instead letting Afridi languish in jail and sending funds to the Pakistani government.
“I think they would understand a position of strength,” the senator said. “I think if we had a president who tomorrow said, ‘You don’t get one penny of U.S. taxpayer money unless you release this gentleman, unless you start treating Christians with compassion, unless you start talking about having religious freedom in your country.'”