WASHINGTON: A United States (US) Congressman has submitted a bill to the House of Representatives asking to grant US citizenship to Dr Shakil Afridi, the doctor who provided vital help to the US in finding Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.
The bill submitted by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher on Friday, called for Dr Afridi to be deemed “a naturalized citizen of the United States.”
In his speech in Congress, Rohrabacher, who is also the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight, said, “Pakistan’s Inquiry Commission on the Abbottabad Operation, the US mission which killed bin Laden, has recommended that Dr Afridi be tried for treason for helping the US. If convicted, he could be executed. My bill would grant him US citizenship and send a direct and powerful message to those in the Pakistani government and military who protected the mastermind of 9/11 for all those years and who are now seeking retribution on those who helped to execute bin Laden.”
Rohrabacher cited media reports that Dr Afridi’s wife, an American citizen of Pakistani origin was also missing. “This bill shows the world that America does not abandon its friends,” adding that 21 members of Congress had endorsed the bill as well.
The bill, which was referred to the Committee on Judiciary, comes after US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said in an interview last week that Dr Afridi had provided key intelligence that led to the raid in Abbottabad.
Media reports had earlier said that Dr Afridi had organized a polio vaccination campaign in the city for the Central Intelligence Agency, in order to collect DNA sample to prove that the al Qaeda leader was present in the Abbottabad compound.