Expressing serious concern over indefinite postponement of trial of a Pakistani doctor who helped CIA trace Osama bin Laden, a top American Senator has said that there is no reason to send the American taxpayers' money to Islamabad if the physician continues to be in jail.
"If we can't get an answer, if they're going to continue to hold this man, I see no reason to send taxpayers' money to Pakistan. I have the votes and the ability to force a vote on this issue," Senator Rand Paul said on the Senate floor.
Last month, Paul sent a letter to US President Barack Obama, urging a delay in the release of US financial aid to Pakistan and to hold all aid until Dr Shakil Afridi is released.
He has also introduced legislation in the Senate, which calls for the same action.
"I would hate to have this on the conscience of the Obama administration if this doctor, who helped us get bin Laden, is killed in prison. I would hate to have this on my conscience in Pakistan if they have an innocent man behind whose crime is helping America if he were to be killed in prison," he said.
"At the very least, the Pakistani government ought to immediately get him into a safe prison in one of the larger cities outside the tribal regions. So we're concerned about Dr Afridi's safety. We're concerned about imprisoning him for life, for helping America," Paul said.
"We're also concerned about American taxpayers' money being taken from hardworking Americans and sent to a country that seems to disrespect us. I'm all for cooperating with Pakistan. I hope they will continue to work with us, but you shouldn't have to buy your friends. We just gave them an extra billion dollars, and yet they continue to disrespect us by holding this man in prison," he said.
"I'm very concerned about his safety. I'm concerned that his appeal was not heard today, that his trial was canceled. And next week, if we don't have answers on his trial, we will be here on the floor until I get a vote on whether or not we should continue sending money to Pakistan while they hold him," he said.