Washington: The American financial assistance to Pakistan is under review, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told lawmakers on Thursday and accused Islamabad of treating US diplomats "badly".
Mr Pompeo was responding to questions from Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who said the US should stop providing any financial assistance to Pakistan until it releases Shakil Afridi, a doctor who helped the CIA hunt down Osama bin Laden in 2011.
"With respect to Pakistan, we released far fewer funds in 2018 than in the year prior. The remainder of the funds available are under review. My guess is that that number will be smaller still," he told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Mr Rohrabacher said he sees no "reason" in giving any financial aid to Pakistan if it still keeps Shakil Afridi in jail. Pompeo said he worked "diligently" on the issue of Afridi in his previous role as the CIA Director, but acknowledged that he has been "unsuccessful" so far.
"Please be aware that it's at my heart and I know it's important and we can do that. We can achieve that outcome," he said.
Mr Rohrabacher intervened by saying that the situation is getting "worse" in Pakistan. "These people in Karachi and the Sindhs and the others, they're now facing these people who are killing their leaders or killing their people who believe in certain things that are different than the radical Islamic philosophy of some of the people in the Pakistani government," he alleged. Besides financial assistance issue, Mr Pompeo said, the US also needs to take note of treatment meted out to American diplomats by Pakistan.
"Our State Department officials are being treated badly as well. Folks working in the embassies and in the consulates and other places are not being treated well by the Pakistani government either, a real problem that we need to take the measure of also," he said.
Congressman Brad Sharman hoped that the US State Department would reach out to the leaders of Pakistan about the "forced disappearances in Sind".