Pakistani officials say Dr. Shakil Afridi was a bad egg who had been accused of sexual assault, harassment, theft, and more long before he was arrested for helping the US find Osama bin Laden. Officials showed Reuters a 2002 document in which Afridi was declared too corrupt for government service. "Keeping in view his extreme lust for money, I am ashamed to even call him a doctor," it reads. Officials say Afridi was known to perform surgeries, even though he wasn't qualified to do so.
The US considers Afridi a hero, and is incensed that Pakistan sentenced him to 33 years in prison for treason; Reuters suggests that these new accusations will likely further weaken US-Pakistan relations. "Available information showed Afridi was a respected" doctor, one US official says. "We are aware of efforts … to denigrate his character." The row over Afridi was one of the reasons the new head of Pakistan's ISI postponed a visit to Washington this week, sources tell the Washington Post. Yesterday, Afridi's family held a press conference, at which they urged the US to intervene on his behalf.