The US should withhold aid from Pakistan

By Caleb Berry
Opinion Editor

There are times where I wish that the White House would block twitter from its Wi-Fi service. I have never observed anyone as talented at picking a fight in 280 characters as President Donald Trump. However, just because a message is delivered in a tactless manner does not make the statement incorrect.

In January 2018, the Trump administration had long considered withholding federal aid to the nation of Pakistan for their believed offenses. The New York Times reports that the amount that is being withheld is approximately $255 million. It is wise for the Trump administration to withhold all or part of the aid until the friendliness of the Pakistan government can be fully verified.

Many people have experienced the misfortune of having a problematic friend. Most groups of friends have that one member who everyone tries to like but who’s conduct just makes it difficult to trust them. Most people would not write a check to a friend they did not fully trust. Pakistan is this troublesome friend to the United States.

The U.S. wants to be allies with Pakistan. When Pakistan cooperates with the U.S. and international sanctions they are usually decent allies but the times when they seem to act against the best interest of the U.S. calls their friendship into question. The United States should call Pakistan to answer for suspicious circumstances surrounding them that suggest they act against America’s interest before America sends more aid. For instance, I would like an answer for why Pakistan continues to hold Dr. Shakil Afridi.

Afridi is a Pakistani physician who in 2011 helped the Central Intelligence Agency confirm the presence of Osama Bin Laden in the city Abbottabad, Pakistan. Afridi ran a fake hepatitis vaccine program in the city that was used by the CIA to confirm that the mass murderer had secretly taken refuge inside of the city. Afridi has faced legal trouble ever since his faithful decision was made to assist the CIA in bringing arguably the most dangerous man in modern history to justice. After a parade of accusations and inquiries for various supposed offenses the Pakistani government finally managed to have Afridi convicted on trumped up charges murder related to the death of a patient he had treated eight years prior.

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This is not a partisan issue. Leaders in both political parties have fought for Afridi’s release. The U.S. government has even reprimanded Pakistan for Afridi’s imprisonment in the past. According to NBC News in 2012, the U.S. Senate Panel removed $33 million from Pakistan’s aid as a consequence of Afridi’s imprisonment. Afridi is a hero who is being punished for helping our country bring justice to a criminal mastermind, it could not be simpler.

Pakistan should not receive one more penny of American aid until he is released from the detestable conditions he is being held in. What Pakistan is doing is wrong, and if our country continues to provide aid to this government, then we should be considered accomplices in Afridi’s imprisonment.