US cannot hire local people for CIA: experts
Waqar Ahmed


The United States should respect the Pakistani laws on sentencing of Dr Shakil Afridi and stop hiring the local people for intelligence gathering, defence analysts and security management experts at the capital’s leading think-tanks say.

Wishing not to be identified by names or the think-tanks they are working for, these experts pointed out that inter-state agreements for intelligence sharing are always signed between the states concerned. They said that no individual like Dr Afridi could be hired by the CIA or any other intelligence agency from abroad.

“The CIA knew that hiring Dr Afridi was illegal in all respects,” said an analyst. “They also knew that he could be sentenced under the Pakistani laws as he was committing treason. While Afridi has been thrown into jail in some other case, the Americans are out with guns blazing in a show of hypocrisy that has a few equals.”

Giving an example, he said that the US had sentenced a group of Cubans in 2001 on account of infiltrating US military bases and Cuban exile groups, and giving sensitive information to Cuba. “These people, called the Cuban Five, were convicted for working for Cuban intelligence by the United States. There are thousands of other examples of spies being sentenced all over the world. How can the US officials defend somebody caught working for CIA in a foreign country?”

Similarly, he said the US had convicted and sentenced a 74-year-old Chinese engineer for hoarding sensitive documents. US Attorney Greg Staples was quoted in the case as saying: “only strong sentences offer any hope of dissuading others from helping the PRC get that technology.”

The analyst said the Chinese was sentenced for allegedly passing on sensitive info abroad. “Shakil Afridi’s case in no different from that Chinese engineer’s case or the US Jew Jonathan Pollard. Why should the US apply double standards in the case of Afridi,” he asked, adding that the US reaction on Afridi’s sentencing was incomprehensible and the demand to release Afridi had no semblance of legitimacy. He concluded that the US had violated the basic principles of cooperation with the Pakistani state by hiring Dr Shakil Afridi.

Not surprisingly, another expert added that that the court verdicts in both Pakistan and the US must be respected on a mutual basis. “Immutable laws of quid pro quo apply here. A similar case in the US would never be allowed to be discussed so openly, especially after the court decision. Hence, the verdict of the Pakistani court on Dr Shakil Afridi merits respect and deference.”