Will only accept cash in exchange for Shakil Afridi, resilient Pakistan tells US


ISLAMABAD – Resolutely turning down payments via wire transfer, PayPal and even cryptocurrencies, Pakistan has told the US that if it wants Dr Shakil Afridi it would have to pay up in cash.

During the weekly briefing Dr Mohammad Faisal, spokesperson of the Foreign Office, said on Thursday no deal has been agreed between Pakistan and US governments over the matter of Dr Shakil Afridi, citing the difficulty in transferring $13 billion in currency notes.

“We’ve told Washington, that we won’t consider any mode of online payment – be they electronic transfer, crypto or even human beings. Cash only,” Dr Faisal said.

The Foreign Office spokesperson said the Haqqani trade is also off the table.

“They offered Husain Haqqani in exchange for the Haqqani Network and we simply told them absolutely no chance. Cash only for Haqqani network as well,” the FO spokesperson added.

Dr Faisal also underscored that Pakistan being put on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey-list has also played a part in Islamabad’s reluctance to accept bank transfers of any kind.

“First they [the US] put us on the grey-list of the Financial Action Task Force and now they want to transfer money through banks so that the task force [the US] can take financial action against us?” he said.

“We’re not the same beast we were seven years ago – exactly seven years ago,” he concluded.