Statements by Members of Congress and Government Official about Pakistan
MSNBC “Andrea Mitchell Reports” Interview with Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE)
Thursday, May 24, 2012
MS. MITCHELL: Now, Senator, I hope you can hear me. I want to talk to you about your new jobs program, visa availability for educated — highly educated foreign students, but first let me also ask you about Pakistan because the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today, voted to hold up $33 million from Pakistan out of anger, really fury, over the fact that Pakistan has jailed the doctor who helped us find bin Laden, jailed him for treason for 33 years. That’s a million dollars a year. What is your reaction to this because Pakistan is, at the same time, many say, extorting us on the cost for reopening those supply routes to get in and out of Afghanistan, critically important supply routes?
SEN. COONS: Well, Andrea, I think you’re asking me about Pakistan and a vote that the appropriations subcommittee took about our aid program to Pakistan. We have a very important but very conflicted relationship with Pakistan. Obviously, they’re closing off supply routes to our soldiers while they’re in the field fighting for freedom in Afghanistan is an enormous source of frustration, and it’s, in part, in response to an incident that the Pakistanis took great offense to. We need to find ways that we can sustain this critical relationship both for the region, for our troops that are still in the field in Afghanistan and for long-term security, but we shouldn’t continue to give them assistance without any regard to what they are doing that puts our national security and our troops at threat. So I believe members of the Senate have tried to send a strong signal that the relationship with Pakistan has to be a two-way street and that that route in and out of Afghanistan needs to open.
Joint Press Availability – Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Lastly on the conviction of Dr. Shakil Afridi in Pakistan, as I’ve said before, the United States does not believe there is any basis for holding Dr. Afridi. We regret both the fact that he was convicted and the severity of his sentence. His help, after all, was instrumental in taking down one of the world’s most notorious murderers. That was clearly in Pakistan’s interests as well as ours and the rest of the world. This action by Dr. Afridi to help bring about the end of reign of terror designed and executed by bin Laden was not in any way a betrayal of Pakistan. And we have made that very well known, and we will continue to press it with the government of Pakistan.
White House Press Gaggle
Q: On Pakistan, there have been two drones in the past couple days. Do those attacks, given the Pakistanis’ objections to these attacks, undermine progress on the trade routes?
MR. CARNEY: I’m not in a position to talk about methods and the like. I can simply say that we – - on the GLOCs, that we’ve been in conversations with and consultations with the Pakistanis on resolving this issue. The Pakistani government has made clear that they want to resolve it; we obviously do as well. And we expect that it will be resolved.
Q: Another one on Pakistan. The doctor who aided the CIA on the OBL raid got a 33-year sentence. I was wondering if the administration had any reaction to that sentence, and whether there’s any effort to try to encourage the Pakistanis to shorten the sentence or perhaps dismiss it.
MR. CARNEY: I think Secretaries Panetta and Clinton have made comments about this. I would simply say that our views have not changed and we continue to see no basis for Dr. Afridi to be held. I think it’s an important point that any assistance provided by anyone in the effort to bring Osama bin Laden to justice was assistance not against Pakistan, but against al Qaeda and against Osama bin Laden.