Shakeel Afridi will neither be handed over to US, nor freed: Senate told

Shakil Afridi

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid on Tuesday told Senate that Dr Shakeel Afrid was a hero for Americans but a culprit in Pakistan, who would neither be released nor handed over to the United States.
He further informed the House that Dr Shakeel Afridi was involved in criminals and anti-state activities and was arrested in May 2011. He added that Dr Afridi helped US in tracing Osama bin Laden under the cover of a fake polio campaign, which served a blow to Pakistan efforts to eradicate polio from the country.
He was responding to a calling attention notice moved by Maulana Hafiz Hamdullah regarding the statement of the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs.
He added that the criminal act of Dr Afridi led to attacks on polio worker across Pakistan and since then some 50 polio workers had been killed as suspects of foreign agents. He said currently Dr Shakeel Afridi was under trial.
Zahid Hamid said the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Tariq Fatemi during his visit to the United States conveyed during his interaction that Dr Shakeel Afridi is going through a due trial.
The Senate was informed on Tuesday that renovation work on Peshawar Airport was being carried out speedily and will be completed during this year.
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad told the House during question hour that three billion rupees have been allocated for this purpose. He pointed out that the major expansion and remodelling of terminal building has been underway since February last year. It will provide world class facilities and comfort to the passengers.
To a question, the Minister said the PIA has floated tenders for acquiring four wide-body and four narrow-body aircraft on dry lease.
To a question, Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan informed the House that national interests will be fully guarded while negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) with Turkey and Thailand and reviewing the FTA with China. He pointed out that these will improve Pakistan’s competitiveness and helps enhance country’s exports.
The Minister said the Prime Minister has recently announced a substantive package of 180 billion rupees for exporters, which will help raise textile exports substantially.
Khurram Dastgir Khan rejected the impression that Pak-Afghan Transit Trade has been shifted to Iran. He said Afghanistan has made worth 2.55 billion dollars commercial imports through Pak-Afghan Transit Trade during 2014-15, which is a record.
Commerce Minister said the government is in the process of preparing an e-commerce policy. He said a National Policy Board in this regard has been formed. He said since the matter involves a number of issues and legislations, it will take time to finalize the policy.
Answering a question, Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid said National Forest Policy has been prepared in consultation with the provinces to protect the country from climate change impact. He said the Council of Common Interests (CCI) has already approved the policy in principle.
The Senate today passed “The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill, 2016” with an amendment moved by Leader of the Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan.
Moved by Law Minister Zahid Hamid, the bill is aimed to put an end to Benami transactions.


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