SC orders to merge Aafia Siddiqui with case of Pakistanis jailed abroad

14

 

TAUSEEF ABBASI

ISLAMABAD

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday issued directives club a petition seeking the repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui with a petition seeking repatriation of Pakistanis jailed abroad.

A three-member bench of the top court led by Justice Azmat Saeed heard the case.

During the hearing, the deputy attorney general informed the court that Aafia meets with Pakistan’s counsellor after every three months.

Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that let us review and find out can sentence of Dr Aafia Siddiqui be completed in Pakistan?

“A breakthrough is likely in Dr Aafia’s matter by highlighting her case with other Pakistani prisoners,” he said.

Court has adjourned the hearing of case indefinitely.

Last month, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said that steps to bring Dr Aafia back were underway and the matter of her return was continuously being raised with Washington.

He added that, with regards Dr Aafia and Shakeel Afridi, Pakistan’s stance was the same as before and there had been no change in it.

Dr Fouzia had said in April that “at one point it had seemed as if Aafia was going to come to Pakistan any moment.”

She said that she had been reassured by the government that negotiations with the US were ongoing and that “there will be a good news between January and March, but now silence has set in again.”

It is pertinent to mention here that last year, Dr Siddiqui’s sister, Dr Fouzia, had requested Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to take up the matter with the US, and Qureshi said that efforts were underway to bring her back.

The foreign minister had said that the issue of Dr Siddiqui’s repatriation was “being considered”, following which Consul General in Houston Aisha Farooqui had met Dr Aafia and urged the US to “respect her human and legal rights”.

Neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years of imprisonment by a US federal court in 2010, after she was convicted of firing at US troops in Afghanistan while in their custody and other six charges against her.

Her lawyers had requested a sentence of 12 years, while prosecutors had pressed for a life sentence.