US to award Dr. Afridi, a CIA agent

The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on oversights and investigations, Dana Rohrabacher is seeking to introduce a bill this week for award of Congressional gold medal to Dr. Shakeel Afridi, who remains in detention in Pakistan for his alleged role in running a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad to help CIA operatives reach Osama bin Laden.  According to a press release issued Tuesday, Republican Congressman from California, Dana Rohrabacher said that he “plans to introduce legislation to award Congressional Gold Medal to Dr. Shakeel Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who bravely risked his life to identify Osama Bin Laden so that US military forces could bring him to justice. “Dr. Afridi, acting at great personal risk, used the cover of conducting a vaccination program in Abbottabad to gain access to Bin Laden’s compound and identify the cowardly Islamic terrorist. If discovered, he, along with his family, would mostly likely have been killed”, the Congressman stated in the press release. “Dr. Afridi’s acts to help the United States were extremely valiant and daring,” said Rohrabacher. “All Americans owe him our most sincere gratitude for helping to execute the terrorist who murdered thousands of innocent Americans”, he added. “Awarding Dr. Afridi the Congressional Gold Medal is a great honor befitting a hero who took such great risks to help the United States achieve a major victory”, he argued. Dr. Afridi’s major contribution to the raid on Bin Laden’s compound was confirmed recently by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who said that Dr. Afridi is “an individual who in fact helped provide intelligence that was very helpful with regards to this operation to kill or capture Bin Laden.” “Since the May, 2011 raid in Abbottabad, Dr. Afridi has been arrested and held by the same Pakistani government that gave refuge to Bin Laden. Islamabad now threatens to try Dr. Afridi for treason for helping the United States. Pakistan’s Inquiry Commission on the Abbottabad Operation has called him a “national criminal,” punishable by death”, grumbled Rohrabacher. “Dr. Afridi continues to sacrifice for the United States and awarding him the Congressional Gold Medal is a fitting way to recognize his ongoing bravery”, he emphasised. It may be mentioned here that Dana Rohrabacher also introduced another bill in the Congress last week for awarding US citizenship to Pakistan. The US State Department spokesperson, at that time, had said that the Congressional resolution for award of citizenship to Dr. Afridi, even if approved, was only a recommendation and was not binding upon the American administration.- Contributed by Awais Saleem, Dunya News correspondent in Washington, DC