U.S. Senate panel protests conviction of Pakistani doctor

Sen. Lindsey Graham

WASHINGTON — In response to the conviction in a Pakistani court of the doctor who helped the United States track down Osama bin Laden, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to cut aid to Pakistan by $1 million for every year of the doctor’s sentence.

Shakil Afridi, the doctor who collected DNA to verify for the CIA that bin Laden was at a compound in Abbottabad, was convicted of high treason and sentenced to 33 years in prison.

The committee voted 30-0 to cut $33 million in aid to Pakistan, according to The Associated Press. It was a symbolic gesture that reflects growing frustration with the country, which is technically considered an ally to the United States.

The cut was pushed by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who called Pakistan a “schizophrenic ally” and said the U.S. “(doesn’t) need Pakistan double-dealing and not seeing the justice in bringing Osama bin Laden to an end.”

The committee already had slashed President Barack Obama’s request for aid to Pakistan by 58 percent, and threatened deeper cuts if the country does not open supply routes to U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistan closed those routes after a U.S. attack killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.