Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman spoke with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday from Islamabad. The Ambassador explained that the Pakistani government was satisfied with Secretary Clinton’s apology for the incident last November that killed 24 Pakistani troops, and that transit fees would not be increased because, for Pakistan, it was never about money – the $5,000 per truck number was a rumor in the media that took on a life of its own. Pakistan, she explained, sees granting access to the transit routes as one of many ways that they can contribute to bringing peace and stability to the region.
Wolf also asked about Dr. Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who was part of a CIA operation to identify Osama bin Laden’s location in Pakistan and was subsequently sentenced to 33 years in prison. Ambassador Rehman said that Dr. Afridi was not convicted by “kangaroo courts” and has the right of appeal in his case.
Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, had his passport seized and is restricted from leaving the country. An investigation into accusations that he sought US help to avert a military coup has bypassed all preliminary hearings and is being taken up directly by Pakistan’s Supreme Court – an institution that many fear has itself been working to unseat the democratically-elected government.
Today, Husain Haqqani is receiving credible death threats, as are his lawyer, sympathetic journalists and public supporters. Coming so soon after the assassinations of Gov Salmaan Taseer, Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, and journalist Saleem Shahzad some fear a systematic effort is underway to silence critics of Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies.
Ambassador Haqqani’s wife, Pakistani parliamentarian Farahnaz Ispahani, spoke with Wolf Blitzer recently to explain the gravity of the situation in Pakistan, and what it means for her husband’s safety and basic human rights.