Release Dr Aafia Siddiqui

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UNFORTUNATELY, there is no end to miseries of Dr Aafia Siddiqui who continues to serve as a glaring example of human rights violations.

Our Foreign Office on Saturday confirmed that a fellow inmate at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Carswell, US attacked the incarcerated neuroscientist last month and a formal complaint has been lodged with relevant US authorities to probe the matter and ensure her safety and well-being.

How do US authorities proceed on the matter is yet to be seen but Dr Aafia’s trial and conviction is a sheer story of injustice.

She was indicted by a New York Federal District Court in September 2008 on charges of attempted murder and assault, stemming from an incident during an interview with the US authorities in Ghazni, Afghanistan — charges that she denied.

After eighteen months in detention, she was tried and convicted in early 2010 and sentenced to 86 years in prison and since then she has been imprisoned in the US.

While her disappearance from 2003 to 2008 is still a mystery, her association or link to any terrorist outfit including Al-Qaeda has never been established in a court of law.

This is the reason that many human rights activists term his conviction totally inhumane. Not mentally well, her status shows she still experiences Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia.

Already Dr Aafia has suffered a lot for crimes she never committed. Keeping her in detention is nothing but a criminal act.

It will be better for Biden administration to decide on Aafia’s mercy petition and allow her repatriation to Pakistan.

Especially when the US has withdrawn from Afghanistan, it must now recognize sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in war on terror.

The repatriation of Dr Siddiqui to Pakistan will be much-awaited compensation for the work Pakistan has done and sacrifices locals have made throughout the war on terror. Her return can also serve as harbinger of a stronger relationship between the two nations.

The Biden administration must understand that acts such as what happened to Dr Aafia has only fuelled anti-US sentiments in Pakistan. This can be reversed through release of this Pakistani woman on humanitarian grounds.

We will also ask the government to forcefully raise the issue of Dr Aafia with the US administration to secure her early release.

 

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