Musharraf suggests exchanging Shakil Afridi for Mullah Fazlullah

Washington: Pakistans former President Pervez Musharraf has said that he would have released Shakil Afridi in exchange for Mullah Fazlullah in a “give and take” deal, had he been the President now.

“We can resolve this irritant and exchange more accommodating stance from the US… and Afghanistan because we have a terrorist sitting there, Fazlullah. I suppose the US also knows that he’s there,” Dawn reported quoting Musharraf as saying in an interview.

Mullah Fazlullah is the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief. The TTP is being accused by Pakistan of carrying out suicide attacks in the country on civilian and security gatherings.

“A deal is a give and take. Yes, indeed it can be resolved. I don’t think it is such a serious thing that it cannot be resolved,” the former military chief added.

Afridi, who helped the CIA locate the then Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, has been in prison in Pakistan since 2011. On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged before a congressional committee that he would continue to work “diligently” to get Afridi out of prison.

US lawmakers have urged the Trump administration to bring Afridi to the US where he is considered a hero.

Defending Pakistan’s position on Afridi, Musharraf said every nation had to make policies in accordance with its interests.

He acknowledged that Pakistan’s policy, in this case, was an irritant to the US but Washington would have probably done the same if faced with a similar situation.

“Purely on the merits of the case, … would you allow… a US citizen dealing with the ISI on a very, very sensitive issue of national importance to the US?”