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.
Dec 11,2009 The Nation
LAHORE – The Lahore High Court on Thursday asked the federal government to precisely inform the court on December 21 as to how the case of release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui be proceeded in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The court passed this order after the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Naveed Inayat Malik on behalf of the federal government had told that Dr Aafia’s case could not be moved to ICJ because she had been arrested in Afghanistan and it was not agreed by that country to move it the ICJ, a pre-requisite under the international law.
The DAG, however, admitted that a friendship treaty existed between Pakistan and the US but the Afghanistan government was a hurdle in the way.
Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry disapproving this stance observed that apparently the foreign ministry was speaking the US language.
The circumstantial evidences and several media reports say that Dr Aafia was arrested from Karachi and later handed over to America by Pakistani government, the judge further observed.
The judge adjourned the hearing of a contempt petition till December 21, seeking repatriation of Dr Aafia, and asked the DAG to tell the court about upshots if government had moved ICJ regarding subject matter after fulfilling all legal implications but the ICJ had dismissed the plea.
Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffree, who filed the petition, submitted that the court had earlier directed the government to take action for the release and repatriation of Dr Aafia but it did not comply with court orders. He said the court had also asked the government to move International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the release of Dr Aafia but the government was vain to do so.
Barrister Iqbal said the government had engaged a panel of US lawyers on a hefty fee for contesting case of Dr Afia but had not bothered to move ICJ, which cost nothing.
He prayed to the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against respondents for defying court orders.
Author: Alex Harrison
Article was published in Australian News paper Greenleft Online on 28th Nov 2009.
In 2003, Siddiqui and her children disappeared after being taken from their home in Pakistan as part of the US-led “war on terror”. The whereabouts of her children remain unknown.
In August 2008, US officials claimed she had been in their custody only since July 2008, even though she had disappeared five years earlier.
Siddiqui’s lawyer, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, said Siddiqui was held in the US-run Bagram prison camp in Afghanistan for “a long time”, where she encountered terrible torture and abuse, according to advocacy organisation Cageprisoners. US officials have strenuously denied that Siddiqui was ever held in Bagram.
However, former Bagram detainees Moazzam Begg and Binyam Mohammed have said they saw her while detained there.
Siddiqui, who was extradited to the US from Afghanistan, faces serious terrorism-related charges.
US officials claim she was arrested with explosive manuals and “dangerous substances sealed in jars”, and intended to bomb the compound of the governor of the Afghan province of Ghazni. However, Cageprisoners has described the inconsistencies in the US’s allegations as “strange at best”.
Siddiqui’s lawyer has raised concerns about her many health problems, including slight brain damage, a lost kidney and injured intestines.
Despite this, she must endure humiliating strip and cavity searches before appearing in court or receiving visitors other than her lawyers.
Surely, this woman has endured enough through her years of illegal detention and torture, as well as the unexplained whereabouts of her children.
[Cageprisoners’s report exploring the detention and treatment of Siddiqui, “Aafia Siddiqui: A case of lies and inconsistencies”, can be downloaded from .]
The News Saturday, November 28, 2009
By Usman Manzoor
ISLAMABAD: After being subjected to a strip search, Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani woman held by the Americans on account of terrorism charges, is not allowed to receive even ordinary mail in the New York jail.
Barrister Iqbal Jafree, her lawyer, while talking to The News disclosed that he and a few members of Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s family had been continuously writing to her in New York but the letters always returned undelivered because of wrong address. “I cannot understand that the post offices in USA do not know the addresses of Metropolitan Detention Centre (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York and the address of the Federal Court,” said the lawyer who spent decades in the US.
He said that it was the fundamental right of a prisoner to receive mail and to send mail. “But I think the Americans have forgotten these moral principles when it comes to a poor, ailing Pakistani lady.”
He said: “The family of Aafia cannot interact with her even through ordinary mail and we listen to long lectures on human rights by the Americans when their own interest is involved.”
Barrister Jafree said that after passing five years of horrendous detention, reportedly at the Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, the woman was subjected to continuous humiliation at the Metropolitan Detention Centre (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York, in the name of strip search.
The lawyer said that the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui could be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) under the Pak-US Treaty of Friendship and Commerce signed in 1959, as the government had failed to secure her repatriation through diplomatic means. Mentioning the clauses of the treaty, the lawyer observed that Aafia’s case could be shifted to the ICJ on a simple letter from the Government of Pakistan.
He said that one simple application from the government could bring the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui to the ICJ where there would be independent judges who could judge better the reality about the Pakistani doctor.
He claimed that the charges against Dr Aafia were rubbish but Americans would never let her go. “We have the examples of Aimal Kansi and an Italian underworld don after whose execution Italy stopped extraditing prisoners to USA”, said the lawyer.