Committee Axes Pakistan Funding

Banaras Khan, AFP / Getty Images; Qazi Rauf / AP Photo

Pro-Taliban protesters burn an American flag during a rally in Quetta, Pakistan on May 2, 2012; Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi, right, who helped the US find Osama bin Laden, was sentenced to 33 years in prison for treason.

Capitol Hill sent a clear message to Pakistan on Thursday: oh no you didn’t. A Senate panel expressed outrage over the conviction of a doctor who helped U.S. intelligence locate Osama bin Laden, the panel voting to cut aid to Pakistan by $33 million. The amount was symbolic: $1 million for each of the 33 years that Shakil Afridi has been sentenced to prison for treason. The foreign-aid budget for Pakistan has also been cut in half, and officials threatened deeper slashes if Pakistan did not open on-the-ground routes for U.S. and NATO forces. “We need Pakistan, Pakistan needs us, but we don’t need Pakistan double-dealing and not seeing the justice in bringing bin Laden to an end,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, who pushed for more cuts in aid.