Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on reports that Pakistani physician Dr. Shakil Afridi has been charged with murder:

“Reports that murder charges have been leveled against Dr. Shakil Afridi are extremely concerning.  The fact that he has been jailed since he assisted in ridding the world of Osama bin Laden is outrageous.  Let’s hope that this situation is immediately resolved.    

“I understand the U.S. Ambassador in Islamabad is taking up this issue with the Pakistan government.  I have made my displeasure known with the Pakistan Embassy in Washington today, and raised Afridi’s case directly with Prime Minister Sharif last month.  His government seems to be compounding the problem.  I would like to hear Secretary Kerry and U.S. officials speak out.  

“It must be made clear that Afridi’s fate is an issue of critical importance to the U.S. government.  It is a matter of justice for Dr. Afridi, and it is an essential litmus test of the relationship with the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.  This case has serious consequences for U.S. counterterrorism efforts.  If we cannot do a better job protecting brave people who cooperate with us, there will be fewer brave people who cooperate with us.  Unfortunately, Pakistan is becoming an increasingly radicalized country, as extremism and anti-Americanism spreads in some religious schools.  The mistreatment of Afridi reflects that destructive trend.  

“The U.S. makes a serious financial commitment to Pakistan.  This commitment is in serious jeopardy.  Delicate diplomacy hasn‘t worked.”