Sunday, February 7, 2010
Aafia’ s family wants NATO supply closed
Karachi: The family of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, found guilty of trying to kill American servicemen in Afghanistan believes that she will be released within three days if Pakistan closes down supplies to the NATO troops fighting in the war-ravaged country.
“ This all has happened because of our government, which has let down the entire nation. If Pakistani government today stops supplies to the NATO troops fighting in Afghanistan, my sister would be with us within next three days”, DR Fozia Siddiqui, an elder sister of Dr Aafia, said while addressing a press conference at her residence along with Senator Talah Mahmood, the chairman of the Senate’s standing committee on interior affairs, here on Thursday.
A US jury on Wednesday found Aafia Siddiqui, 37, a mother of three and a PhD in education from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, guilty on all charges. She could face life in prison when sentenced on May 6.
Ms Siddiqui, who picked up by FBI agents from Karachi in 2004 along with her three children, was accused of grabbing a rifle at an Afghan police station where she was being interrogated in July 2008 and trying to gun down US servicemen.
Dr Fozia said that the US court verdict was tantamount to a slap on the face of entire nation.She said that on the one hand Pakistan had been a close ally of the US in so-called war on terror, but it could not get its daughter released.
DR Fozia has been carrying on a campaign in collaboration with different political and religious parties for release of her sister, who has mistakenly been reported as a neuroscientist.
According to Ismat Siddiqui, the ailing mother of DR Aafia, she has done her PhD in education, and has never been a scientist.
Dr Aafia, before arriving in Pakistan in 2004, was grilled by FBI agents along with her ex-husband, DR Amjad, for collecting and donating huge amounts to some Islamic charities, which according to FBI had links with Al-Qaeda, and procuring some hunting weapons, and maps.
However, she was not charged her as a would-be terrorist who, according to US intelligence officials, had also plotted to bomb New York.
She was later divorced by her husband, and returned to her homeland. She was picked up by FBI agents when she was on way to Karachi Airport to leave for Islamabad.
Dr Fozia said she and her family were not shocked over this judgment. Whatelse we could expect from a US court, she said.
“ But we have not lost the hope, and will continue our efforts for her release because she is innocent”, she maintained.
Dr Fozia rejects the allegation against her sister that she had tried to kill US servicemen.
“ This is a pack of lies. Everybody knows that she was kidnapped by the Pakistani intelligence agencies at the behest of General Pervez Musharraf. He (Musharraf) later handed her over to Americans, who took her to Afghanistan, where she was detained and tortured for many months”.
A recent report submitted by an investigation officer appointed by the government following a high court order, says that Dr Aafia was kidnapped by FBI agents while she was on her way to Karachi airport to leave for Islamabad.
Dr Fozia thinks that the verdict is a humiliation for Americans
"This verdict has exposed the US judicial system, which cannot provide justice to innocent people. This is a humiliation for American nation too”.
Senator Talah Mahmood, the chairman of the Senate’s standing committee on home affairs, and head of the parliamentary committee set up by the government for Dr Aafia’s release, too appears to be disappointed over the verdict.
“ It is a high time for the government to review its policies vis-à-vis so-called war on terror”, Senator Talah Mahmood thought.
“ It was an opportunity for the government to show self-respect. But it has let down the whole nation”.
Senator Mahmood, who was head of a delegation that called on Dr Aafia three months back in NY, had reported to Pakistani government that the detained woman were mentally and physically tortured.
“ If Pakistan government had really wanted, she would have been with us. But the government has lost this opportunity”, he maintained.
“ The time has come, when as a nation we should think that what has we got in response to invaluable sacrifices in so-called war on terror? He asked.