ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi says Pakistan would be willing to discuss with President-elect Donald Trump’s administration freedom for a jailed Pakistani doctor who ran a fake polio campaign to help the United States track down Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

Shakil Afridi is serving 33 years of jail term on treason charges.

“Pakistan would be willing to look at how we could move forward in a resolution of this problem,” Tariq Fatemi told Voice of America’s Urdu service.

“We are not holding on to Dr Shakil Afridi because of some personal animosity,” he insisted.

Afridi is hailed as a hero in the United States for helping the CIA obtain the Bin Laden family’s DNA by staging a fake immunisation campaign in Abbottabad.

The move led to the May 2011 covert US military raid that killed the Al Qaida leader. Weeks later, media revelations about Afridi’s role prompted Pakistani authorities to arrest him. He was tried and imprisoned in 2012. Afridi has challenged the sentence in an appeals court.

During his election campaign, Trump told Fox News that if elected he would get Afridi out of the jail “in two minutes”.

Fatemi told VOA that a presidential pardon could be sought for the doctor under Pakistani laws but only after judicial proceedings are concluded.

“The whole process has to go through the judiciary, and it is for the judiciary then to decide whether a case is ripe or not ripe for it to be sent to before the president for a possible exercise of the powers of the president to give pardon,” said Fatemi.

He reiterated that Afridi’s fake immunisation drive seriously hurt and raised suspicions about vaccination programs the World Health Organisation is running in Pakistan.