Dec 12, 2009
By Irfan Bukhari Daily Times
* Acting foreign secretary says FO working for release of Pakistani neuroscientist
ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior on Friday passed a unanimous resolution demanding the government take measures for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
The resolution also asked the Foreign Office (FO) to convey the people’s concern to the United Nations and other human rights organisations. The committee, chaired by Senator Talha Mehmood, reviewed the status of Dr Aafia’s case and the efforts being made by the government to secure her release.
“The Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior urges the Government of Pakistan to ensure the prompt repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani citizen, from the government of the United States where she is being detained and tried on the basis of questionable facts and unfounded charges,” the resolution read. The resolution also reads, “… the committee is deeply concerned about the plight of Dr Aafia’s three dependent children, two of whom are still missing since March 2003.”
Release: Acting Foreign Secretary Haroon Shaukat told the body that the FO was taking measures in this regard.
“The prime minister and the foreign minister have requested US authorities and US Congress in this connection and our government is defending Dr Aafia in a US court,” he said, adding that the government had hired three veteran lawyers for this purpose. Former secretary interior Tasneem Noorani told the committee that no first information report (FIR) had been registered against the kidnapping of Dr Aafia since 2003. Sindh Additional Inspector General Zafar Farooqui told the committee the FIR had been lodged after six and a half years of the incident.