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No change in US stance on Afridi despite Pak clarification

Washington: Dissatisfied with Pakistan`s clarification that the sentencing of doctor Shakeel Afridi is not linked to his help to CIA for tracing Osama bin Laden, the US has said it does not change its view that his 33-year jail term is not justified and sends a "wrong message".

"We continue to express our concerns about his continued incarceration. We have actually gotten some clarity that the charges against him are not related to the bin Laden case apparently," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said at his daily news conference.

"We did get a response from the Pakistani Government. This, however, doesn`t change our view that the prosecution and conviction of Dr Afridi sends the wrong message about the importance of our shared interest in taking down one of the world`s most notorious murderers, bin Laden. So we would just continue to urge the Pakistani government to consider his appeal," he said.

The United States, he said, believes his conviction and sentencing send the wrong message about people who are trying to cooperate to bring down a terrorist like bin Laden, Toner maintained. There is an appeal process underway and that should be considered, he noted.

Responding to questions, Toner said the US is very much cognisant of the fact that extremism and terrorism remain a threat to Pakistan`s stability, to its citizens. "Nobody`s suffered more from these kinds of terrorist attacks than the people of Pakistan," he said.

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