Pakistan on Thursday rejected U.S. criticism over a court verdict to jail a Pakistani doctor accused of treason for helping the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) collect information about Osama bin Laden's whereabout.
This television frame grab from Geo News on May 24, 2012, shows Pakistani surgeon Shakeel Afridi, who was working for US intelligence to help find Osama bin Laden, during a news report of him being sentenced to 30 years in prison. Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi who was charged with treason for helping the United States to track down and kill Osama bin Laden has been sentenced to 30-year imprisonment, reported local media Geo on Wednesday. [Xinhua/Geo News]
A court in Pakistan's Khyber tribal region on Wednesday handed down a 33-year jail term to Dr Shakil Afridi, who ran a fake vaccination campaign to get DNA samples of the children of the former al-Qaida chief in Abbotabad, Pakistan, where Bin Laden was killed by U.S. commandos in May 2011.
Islamabad condemned the covert U.S. raid on Bin Laden's house as a violation of its sovereignty.
The U.S. state department angrily reacted to the verdict, saying Pakistan has no basis to hold or charge the doctor.
Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Ahmad Khan asked the U.S. to respect the Pakistani court verdict.
The spokesman told a weekly press briefing that Dr Afridi would be tried in accordance with Pakistani laws.
"We need to respect each others' legal process," the spokesman said.
The spokesman said there is a mutual desire on both sides to normalize relations as soon as possible.
Ties between Islamabad and Washington has been strained since the killing of Bin Laden.
He said Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari was invited to the Nato summit in Chicago as Pakistan had an important role to play for stability and peace in Afghanistan.
The U.S. used the Nato summit to intensify pressure on Zardari to cut a deal on reopening Nato supply routes to Afghanistan which was blocked after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed by a U.S. airstrike on a border checkpoint in November 2011.
Negotiations have bogged down over the conditions Pakistan set for the lifting of blockade, such as apology for the killing of soldiers, an end to the drone strike in Pakistan's northwest tribal regions bordering Afghanistan and increase in transit fee.
The Foreign Office spokesman said Pakistan strongly condemns the drone attacks on suspected militants hideout as violation of Pakistan's territorial integrity, counter-productive and totally unacceptable.