WASHINGTON - American lawmakers are continuing to build pressure on President Barack Obama to withhold all US aid to Pakistan until Islamabad releases Dr Shakeel Afridi, the man who helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden.

“Until Dr Afridi is released from prison, we urge you to withhold all unallocated foreign assistance money for Pakistan remaining for this fiscal year,” Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher - both Republicans - said in a letter to President Obama released Friday.

“We must send a message not only to Pakistan but to any other countries seeking to use American taxpayer dollars to subsidise their subversion of America’s global priorities,” the letter said.

Rohrabacher is also the author of a pending legislation calling for Baloch people’s right to self-determination.

Following is text of the letter:

Dear President Obama,

We write to raise a matter of great importance to US taxpayers and to American interests abroad. As you know, over the last several months, authorities in Pakistan have sought to bring criminal charges against Dr Shakil Afridi, a former surgeon general in Khyber.  Through the use of a door-to-door vaccination drive, Dr Afridi bravely assisted our intelligence services in identifying the residents of the Abbottabad complex which was later confirmed to be the home of Osama bin Laden.

For his work in supporting the successful search for Osama bin Laden, Dr Afridi deserves our appreciation. Unfortunately, the government of Pakistan has made it a point to punish Dr Afridi for helping to expose Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout in the most severe manner possible. Last year, a Pakistani government commission recommended Dr Afridi be put on trial for “high treason” and “conspiracy against the state of Pakistan,” and his home was taken by government authorities. After months of investigating Dr Afridi and after refusing to deny countless reports he was being charged with treason, Pakistan’s tribal courts-which provide absolutely no transparency to their proceedings-sentenced him to 33 years in prison. These prisons are filled with radicals sympathetic to Qaeda, and they would not hesitate to harm Dr Afridi.

In response to this situation, we will be proposing legislation to withhold all foreign assistance money to the government of Pakistan until Dr Afridi is released.  That addresses potential future aid to Pakistan. But more can and should be done right now, by your administration. Until Dr Afridi is released from prison, we urge you to withhold all unallocated foreign assistance money for Pakistan remaining for this fiscal year.  We must send a message not only to Pakistan but to any other countries seeking to use American taxpayer dollars to subsidize their subversion of America’s global priorities.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.