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PAKISTAN: Army officers acknowledged that a disappeared person was in their custody but the courts failed to recover him –>AHRC

February 3, 2011 8 comments

Issue of missing persons needs to be resolved as early as possible otherwise this will lead to our society like it used to be in Nazi Germany where life was made impossible for opposing voices. If someone has done some crime then there are courts and constitution to judge not military kidnappers who themselves have a hisotry of constitutional violations and betrayals with the country. Extra-judicial killings and illegal abductions will not serve any good cause.

Below is a report from Asian Human Rights Commission and it leaves some serious concerns in any mind with some sense of justice and humanity.

Human history has taught us a very good lesson which is often used as a slogan : 

No Justice No Peace !

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PAKISTAN: Army officers acknowledged that a disappeared person was in their custody but the courts failed to recover him–>AHRC

Source : http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-014-2011

The case of the disappearance of a master tailor exposes how the army is involved and the weaknesses of the judicial system

The Asian Human Rights Commission has received the details of the saga of disappearance of a master tailor who was arrested on two occasions by army personnel and how since October 2001 his whereabouts are unknown. The high officials of the Pakistan army including Corps Commander of Balochistan province, a major general, the governor of the province and above all of them, the chief of the Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI) had confessed on the holy Quran in 2003 that the victim was in the custody of the ISI and that he would be released after the investigation.

The Judicial Commission to probe the cases of missing persons has also submitted a report to the Supreme Court of Pakistan that Mr. Bangulzai, the master tailor, was in the custody of secret services of Pakistan.

The dilemma is that since 2001 to date, the higher courts, the governments of the federation and Balochistan have failed to recover him because of the involvement of the army and its intelligence agencies in his disappearance.

Mr. Ali Asghar Bangulzai 50, the son of Ghulam Nabi was arrested the first time by secret services on June 1, 2000 from his tailoring shop. After 14 days he was released. After his release it was found that he had lost his memory because of the severe torture he had endured. He could not even recognise his own house where he was born. After his recovery he revealed to his family that he was kept in a torture cell at the basement of army’s Kulli camp situated at Quetta cantonment. During his confinement he was kept blindfolded at all times; his hands were cuffed and he was frequently suspended by the wrists by officials of ISI. This is according to his family members from he later told them. After his release for almost one year he was not able to run his tailoring shop.

Mr. Bangulzai was the resident of Chaki Shahwani, Sariab Road, Quetta, capital of Balochistan province. His tailor shop was in walking distance from his home. The army was suspicious that many people were visiting his shop and that he must be involved in militant activities.

Again, on October 18, 2001 Bangulzai was arrested along with his friend Mohammad Iqbal by men who came in army vehicles. Iqbal was released after 22 days he told Bangulzai’s family members that he was in an army torture cell. The family tried to contact the local officials and army command office for his whereabouts but they refused to meet the family. In early 2002, a constitutional petition was filed in the Balochistan high court, during hearing Mr. Iqbal recorded his statement that Bangulzai was in Kulli Army camp. He also took part in a press conference in Quetta Press Club with Bangulzai family members with regard to his arrest .The family members also submitted an application to SHO (Station head officer) Sariab Police Station with a request to lodge an FIR (First information report) about his illegal arrest and disappearance but the police refused to file the FIR because of the involvement of military intelligence agencies. The family of the victim also filed an application before the High Court to order police to file the FIR but the court could not help the family.

On April 27, 2002 family members of Bangulzai met the then Major General Abdul Qadir Baloch , who was Corp Commander of the province to inquire about the whereabouts of the Bagulzai. The family was given assurance that they would be informed about his whereabouts. The Corps Commander sent two officers from military intelligence to the house of victim on May 15, 2002 who told the family that Bangulzai was safe and in the custody of the ISI. As the interrogation is completed he would be released but officials refused to allow the family members to meet him.

In the meantime the family members in desperation tried to meet members of the parliament. They were able to meet Mr. Hafiz Hussain Ahmad MNA (Member of National Assembly) who took the family members to meet with the head of ISI (Inter services intelligence) Baluchistan, Brigadier Siddique. During the meeting Brigadier called Colonel Bangush and asked him to bring the file of Bangulzai. After seeing the file Brigadier Siddique congratulated the family and said that Banguzai was in their custody. During different meetings the family members of Bangulzai insisted that they wanted to meet with him but every time they were told that there was no need as he would be released soon.

On October 4, 2003 Brigadier Siddique asked the family members of the victim to provide clothes for him because all arrangements had been made for his release.

For the whole one year family members waited for his release and then they adopted the peaceful protest. Bangulzai’s children left their studies and went on a token hunger strike camp in front of Quetta Press Club for the safe recovery of their father and to record their peaceful protest. The camp was there for one year.

On July 14, 2005 the Baluchistan High Court on the pressure from lawyers and civil society took suo motto notice and directed the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Chilton Town, Mr. Wazeer khan, to investigate and register an FIR for Bangulzai’s disappearance by the state intelligence agencies. During the hearing seven persons recorded their statements that army personnel had arrested him and that had assured them many times he would be released from army custody. As usual on the pressure from army Sariab Police Station Quetta refused to register the FIR.

On March 2006 Hafiz Hussain Ahmad, the member of national assembly, visited the token hunger strike camp of family members of Bangulzai and told the local news papers representatives that the head of ISI (Inter services intelligence) Brigadier Siddique has himself acknowledge before him that Bangulzai is in their custody and also assured him that he will be released soon. Hafiz deplored the attitude of ISI officers for lying and misguiding the people.

On February 2007 the family members of Bangulzai submitted a petition in Supreme Court of Pakistan, in which Hafiz Hussain Ahmad’s written statement was submitted in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

In continuation of their efforts the family members filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in February 2007 where Mr. Hafiz Hussain Ahmad, the MNA, has submitted his written statement that ISI had assured him several times that Bangulzai is in their custody. The Supreme Court then ordered on January 31, 2010 that the FIR of his disappearance should be filed. The court also directed the police to file the FIRs of other disappeared persons also.

The Joint Investigation Team to probe the cases of disappeared persons, formed by the government of Pakistan, has also submitted a report to the Supreme Court that according to the testimonies of the eye witnesses and other supportive statements Bangulzai was in the custody of state intelligence agencies.

A Judicial commission to probe the cases of the missing persons, formed by the Federal Government on the instruction from Supreme Court has also came to the conclusion in the March 2010 that after recording all the witnesses that Bangulzai was arrested by the Pakistan secret services and that he was in its custody. The report was duly submitted to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

During the hearing of the Judicial Commission, Mr.Hafiz Hussain Ahmad (MNA) has recorded his statement that the Brigadier Siddique, head of the ISI in Balochistan province, has acknowledge to him that Bangulzai was in their custody and soon he would be released. Mohammad Iqbal who was arrested with Bangulzai also recorded his statement that they were arrested by secret services and that Bangulzai was in their custody. The other witnesses as well recorded their statements that Brigadier has several times accepted in front of them, and Corps commander Qadir Baloch sent his two (MI) (Military intelligence) personnel to the victim’s family and said that he was in the custody of an Intelligence Agency.

It is appalling that 11 years after his arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention by the intelligence agencies Bangulzai’s whereabouts are still unknown. None of the institutions and officials who were involved in his disappearance has been put on trial despite the fact that they have admitted his detention 11 years ago! Judges hearing disappearances cases have stated in court that any intelligence officer involved in the disappearance of an individual should be placed on trial but this has never happened. Not one has ever been punished.

In the presence of all the evidence that he was illegally arrested and kept incommunicado in an army torture cell by the ISI, the weakness of the country’s justice system is blatantly evident before the powerful military and security agencies. His disappearance by the military is contravention of the basic rights guaranteed by the constitution of Pakistan for example:

Article 4 — The right of individuals to be dealt with by law, Article 10–safe guards as to arrest and detention — the arrested person should be produced within 24 of his arrest before the magistrate, Article 14 — no person should be tortured, Article 15 — freedom of movement and Article 25- all citizens are equal before the law.

The case of Bangulzai is a clear demonstration that the laws of the country do not apply to the military and intelligence agencies. When it comes to providing justice to the ordinary citizen in the face of these institutions the judiciary remains silent.

The Asian Human Rights Commission urges that Mr. Bangulzai should be released immediately from the captivity by the army and its intelligence agencies and that the officials responsible for this arrest and disappearance are prosecuted. Furthermore, the compensation must be paid to his family for the ordeal suffered by him and his family members.

 

 

PAKISTAN: Zarina Marri has been missing along with 429 persons since December 2005;The life of a disappeared student leader is in danger–>AHRC

February 8, 2010 2 comments

After the 18th February 2008 elections it was expected that the newly elected government would try to improve the human rights situation and give some relief to the families of victims. But this proved to be another shattered dream of people blinded by their faith and hope, which soon turned into disbelief on the system for many.

It is amazing that in the time of elected government with new army chief and intelligence chiefs no actions were taken against those involved in these illegal and inhuman activities during the former dictator’s rule.

The statements by the Asian Human Rights Commission given below raises more questions about the seriousness of our government to solve the issue of missing persons.

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PAKISTAN: Zarina Marri has been missing along with 429 persons since December 2005

Source : http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2009statements/1855/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-STM-020-2009
January 23, 2009

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: Zarina Marri has been missing along with 429 persons since December 2005

The Asian Human Rights Commission has received further details in the case of Ms. Zarina Marri, a 23-year-old schoolteacher from Balochistan province, who has been held incommunicado in an army torture cell at Karachi, the capital of Sindh province and used as a sex slave, please see our statement; http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2009statements/1843/

The officials of the education department of Kahan have disclosed that Ms. Marri was a teacher at a government middle school in Kahan, Kohlu district, she was registered as Zarina Bi Bi and she was trained as a Junior Vocational Teacher. She was among those people who were transferred from Kohlu, Kahan, Sibi, Hernai, Much, Kohlo, Dera Bugti, Sabsilla, Bhambhoor, Loti, Dhaman, Pir Koh, Spin, Tangi, Babar Kach, Tandori and Sangan of the Balochistan province during December 2005 and July 2006 when the military government of the then President/General Musharraf was using aerial bombardments to defuse the nationalist movement of Balochistan against the construction of cantonment areas. On 14 December 2005, paramilitary troops accused the people of the area of firing eight rockets at a paramilitary base on the outskirts of the town of Kohlu, a stronghold of the Marri tribe, while President Pervez Musharraf was visiting it. After the visit of President/General Musharraf, within three days of the rocket firing incident, the paramilitary forces began attacking vast areas including the Kahan. It is reported in the media that the military government used the Pakistan air force for bombarding the area. During the fighting between local nationalist militants and the government forces particularly, due to the aerial bombardments, the local population started migrating to other places including to Punjab and Sindh provinces. Please also see urgent appeal of AHRC;
http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2006/1872/ dated July 21, 2006.

After some days around 429 persons left the Kahan, district Kohlu, and migrated towards Dera Ghazi Khan district, Punjab province, Zarina Marri and her parents were also among the caravan. Since then there is no trace of the caravan of 429 persons. After some months people tried to search the missing people and some army officers deputed at the Kohlu district told the people of the area that so many persons were killed in the fighting between the government forces and militants and also in aerial bombardments. But after the revelation from Mr. Munir Mengal, managing director of Baloch language television channel, to Reporters without Frontiers (RSF) that Zarina Baloch was in military torture cell at Karachi and was forced in to sexual slavery, the concern of the people of Kohlu, Kahan, and Dera Bugti has risen about the people of the 429 persons which includes more than 70 women, including many young women, who may be used as sex slaves by the Pakistan military.

The government of Pakistan has still not initiated any serious efforts to investigate the case of Ms. Zarina Marri, despite, of continuous demonstrations in several parts of the country including, Islamabad, capital of country for the recovery of Zarina Marri from the military torture cell at Karachi and halting the business of making young Baloch women work as sex slaves by the Pakistan army. The government’s ignorance of the serious crimes by the military officers during Musharraf’s regime is evidence for the people in the country that the present government still does not have the power to investigate the military misdoings.
The case of Miss Zarina Marri has ignited the narrow nationalist and secessionist feelings of the ethnic Baloch nation which can easily turn into a bloody mutiny against the state if the cases of sex slavery by the military torture cells are not investigated. The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the government to initiate a probe for the recovery of 429 people who are missing since December 2005. The government should also bring the persons who made Marina Marri work as a sex slave before the law regardless of how powerful they are or whether they are military persons.

For further information please see:

http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2006statements/708/

http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2006statements/715/
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PAKISTAN: The life of a disappeared student leader is in danger
Source : http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2009statements/2400/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-STM-022-2010
February 4, 2010

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: The life of a disappeared student leader is in danger

The life of a student leader who was arrested by state intelligence officials is in danger. It is apprehended that he might have been killed. The government of Balochistan says that he was released on January 22, 2010, but his family members have said that he has not yet returned home. They have inquired after him at all local police stations, asking if he was booked under another case, but have not been able to find him.

Mr. Zakir Majeed, a student leader, was allegedly abducted by state intelligence agents on June 8, 2009 from Mastung, near Quetta. Majeed is the senior vice chairperson of the Baloch Student Organization, Azad. His alleged abductors drove up in two cars without number plates and asked the young man a few questions, saying that they were intelligence agents.They took Majeed away with them in their cars without making any charges. One car was a Toyota Vego, the other a Toyota Surf SSR. After UN Special Rapporteurs on Disappearances wrote letters about Mr. Majeed’s disappearance, his release was announced by the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) For more details of the case, please see the following link, dated June 10, 2009; http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2009/3175/.

The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) has taken up Mr. Majeed’s case after the submission of the WGEID form by the AHRC. After an intervention was made by the WGEID, the government announced on January 22, 2010 that Mr. Majeed had been released. The Balochistan High Court also ordered that an FIR (First Investigation Report – a legal document for police investigation) be filed for Mr. Majeed. Until this point, the police refused to register the young man’s disappearance, and a case of habeas corpus was up for regular hearing before the High Court of Balochistan. On January 27, 2010, a police official at Khuzdar Police Station of Balochistan, asked the younger brother of the victim, Mr. Waheed Majeed, to file the FIR before the Mastung Police Station. He did so, but the FIR was not entertained. After an intervention was made by higher-ranked police officers, the FIR was finally lodged. On February 2, 2010 Mr. Aslam Bizenjo, Provincial Minister for Irrigation telephoned Mr. Waheed to inform him that according to the list provided by the NCMC, his brother had been released. The Provincial Minister then asked him to speak with Mr. Akbar Durrani, the Home Secretary of the Balochistan government for further details. The Home Secretary confirmed that Mr. Zakir Majeed had been released on January 22, according to the NCMC list published on its website.

These conflicting pieces of information about Mr. Zakir Majeed’s disappearance have created a great deal of confusion in the minds of Mr. Majeed’s family and the human rights activists who are working for his release. In many past cases, the bodies of the disappeared have been found abandoned on roadsides after courts have ordered for their release, or family members of the disappeared person in question testified in courts that the arrest was done by intelligence agents.

The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the provincial government of Balochistan and federal government of Pakistan to secure the safe release of Mr. Zakir Majeed immediately. Since government officials have already confirmed Mr. Majeed’s safe release, we call upon these officials to be held accountable for these confirmations of safety, and urge these officials to take direct action to reunite Mr. Majeed with his family.

Enforced disappearances of civilians and the perpetual lack of thorough investigation by state officials has become so common that the sanctity and dignity of each human life is being ruthlessly compromised in the name of personal or professional gain. The AHRC calls upon the government of Pakistan to take a strong stand against corruption at all levels of its justice system and take steps towards rebuilding the rule of law in the country.

Imran warns of protests if Aafia convicted–>The Nation

January 12, 2010 1 comment

Source :http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/10-Jan-2010/Imran-warns-of-protests-if-Aafia-convicted

By Khalid Aziz

ISLAMABAD – Chairman Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf Imran Khan Saturday warned of countrywide protest against the prospective conviction of Dr Aafia Siddiqui in USA.
Khan while addressing a students’ seminar said that the US court was going to deliver an ex-party sentence against Dr Afia who was not pleading her case for having no hope of justice from American courts. PTI’s Women Wing had organised the seminar at party’s central office.
He regretted that our own agencies handed over a daughter of nation to foreign powers for the sake of dollars, adding that rulers were keeping mum over her possible conviction. He, however, warned that PTI workers would come on streets in each and every corner of the country if Dr Aafia were convicted by US court.
Recalling his youth days before the students, PTI chief said by then Pakistan was a fast progressing country and the nation was proud and confident. Later, it became slave of foreign powers due to the misdeeds of its rulers. He said that rulers were worshipping the dollar, who, he said, had sold out the nation for minting dollars from USA.
He said that PPP should ask Zardari to explain from which source or business he earned the millions of dollars kept in foreign banks.
Khan also condemned military operations in FATA and other parts of the country and called for withdrawal from the foreign war. He said operations were not a solution to the problem but produced more militants and suicide bombers. Once again he offered mediation between the Taliban and government with guaranteed success provided Pakistan withdrew from the so-called war on terror.

He also denounced US drones’ attacks inside Pakistani territory, saying that 42 drone attacks carried out during the last year killed only eight terrorists and 708 innocent Pakistanis. PTI Chief said people were not paying taxes due to lack of trust in government, adding that rulers were spending taxpayers’ money on their lavish foreign trips having no benefit for the country. “Zardari is once again out on begging trip,” he said.
Responding to a question regarding government response to his earlier mediation offer, Khan said that rulers had not yet obtained NOC from USA. He asked why government was not establishing its writ in Karachi and why judicial inquiry of the May 12, 2007 carnage in Karachi was not being carried out.
Imran Khan also regretted that at times when rest of the world was asking US for withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan, Pakistan Foreign Minister was requesting them for staying in Afghanistan for at least five more years. He said government was shedding the blood of its own people for the sake of dollars.

A Poem On Aafia –>kitni ajeeb si baat hai ke

December 27, 2009 2 comments

Mina sent a really good poem for Dr. Aafia Siddiqi in the comment area of our post:

http://united4justice.wordpress.com/2008/07/30/support-appeal-for-dr-afia-siddiqiprisoner-650-bagram-jail-ahrc/

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kitni ajeeb si baat hai ke
vo ekk guriya marmarri

apne hi mulk se hai biqqiiii
or lutt rahai hai gharri ghari

vo is watan ki beeti hai
or us watan ki bandhani

vo asmaan ko takti rehti hai
khuda ko dhoondti rehti hai

kiya mojze ajj bhi hote hain
kiya farishte ajj bhi hote hain

koi aa ke bachay lee mujh ko abb
Pakistani to gheerat per marte hain ,

kitni ajeeb si baat hai ke
betiyaan to sanjhi hoti thein

ab to jiss ki beeti hai
bass usi ki beeti hai

baqqi to sabb lutere hain
joo noch noch kar khate hain

jane qayamat kabb aye gi
shayed jabb Afia marr jaye gii……………

Dr Aafia to boycott trial–>The Nation

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment

This is really amazing no fair trial, no justice, baseless allegations on an innocent mother of 3 children two of which are still missing (if alive) and still they call their selves civilized fighting a so-called war against terror. The imperialists are real terrorists and hypocrites ruling the world with their power,brutal killings,economic exploitation and lies.

They Zionists/Neo-Cons don’t consider others as human beings , they are real fascists and modern face of Nazism.

Can Aafia get the share of civilization and system of justice she deserves? Is there any conscience left in our government which is busy in licking feet of their imperialist masters? Is there any Kerry-Lugar bill for Aafia? Is there any humanity left for an innocent lady who has suffered a lot for being a muslim women who loves her religion?

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Source: http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/21-Nov-2009/Dr-Aafia-to-boycott-trial

Dr Aafia to boycott trial

The Nation
NEW YORK – While a defiant Aafia Siddiqui declared that she would boycott her trial in January, a federal judge Thursday rejected her lawyers’ plea that she could not be tried in the United States as they pointed out that the Pakistani neuroscientist’s alleged crime took place outside the country. Ms Siddiqui, who was brought to New York in August 2008 from Afghanistan where prosecutors say she allegedly fired at US interrogators. No American was hit but she was shot in the abdomen and was charged with attempted murder and assault.
In a pre-trial hearing on Thursday, her lawyers, led by Charles Swift, argued that Dr Siddiqui could only be tried on terrorism charges in the US, and not on murder charges. In this regard, he quoted various international regulations.
But US District Judge Richard Berman ruled out the motion, saying that the US courts have jurisdiction if American citizens were subjected to attacks abroad, citing some precedents.
But Ms Siddiqui, who is languishing in a maximum security jail, interrupted her lawyers in US District Court in Manhattan to announce that she did not plan to participate in her trial, scheduled for Jan 19.
“I am boycotting this trial,” she declared. “I am innocent of all the charges and I can prove it, but I will not do it in this court.”
Since the very beginning, Ms Siddiqui has said that she has no confidence in the American judicial system or the lawyers appointed for her by the court – even those retained by the government of Pakistan – and that she wants to make peace and knows how to do it.
She has vigorously protested against what she called humiliating strip searches before she is brought to the court.
Judge Berman said that her trial would proceed after her lawyers and prosecutors visit Afghanistan to interview eyewitnesses to finalise their case.
Lawyers for Ms Siddiqui tried to convince the court that she was mentally incompetent to stand trial, citing in part her refusal to cooperate with lawyers and the reports of a psychologist who said she suffers from delusional disorder and depression.
Judge Berman rejected that argument after prosecutors pointed to psychological reports that concluded she was faking mental illness.
Berman on Thursday rejected defence arguments aimed at tossing out charges against Ms Siddiqui that carry a potential minimum prison sentence of 30 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Before he ruled on the request, Dr Siddiqui said visits by her lawyers were “torture for me” and it was a waste of money for lawyers to go to Afghanistan to interview witnesses because she was not participating in the trial.
“I’m not dealing with them anymore,” Dr Siddiqui said of her lawyers. “They’re just people coming to my door and talking, talking, talking.”
During a break, Dr Siddiqui was led out of the courtroom by US marshals when she would not stop talking loudly. “Take me out,” she said. “I’m not coming back.”
She was not present when the judge made his decision.

PAK Gov. ordered to secure the release of Dr. Aafia

October 28, 2009 1 comment

Saturday, 24 October 2009 11:22

The Pakistan Government has been ordered to secure the release of scientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui from US custody.
Originally published in Pakistan, By Yvonne Ridley

The Islamabad High Court made the ground-breaking directive in a move welcomed by her family, supporters and anyone who wants to see justice delivered to a woman who has been trapped in a hellish existence for the last six years.

However, not everyone is happy that Justice Raja Saeed Akram has ordered the government to work towards bringing Aafia home.

As I discovered a few days ago during a visit to Pakistan it seems her ex-husband Dr. Muhammad Amjad Khan has been briefing against the mother of his three children.

In an exclusive interview given to Karachi journalist Aroosa Masroor at The News, Dr. Khan said that most claims about Aafia, propagated to garner public support and sympathy, are untrue.

Why he chose to break his silence after six years is not immediately obvious … unless you buy in to the crazy theory that he was instrumental in his wife’s arrest and disappearance.

Of course it would be outrageous and defamatory to suggest Dr. Khan was involved and I certainly have no evidence to suggest otherwise, but what intrigues me is why this man would want to try and deliberately mislead the public as he did in his first on-the-record interview.

I am not sure what are his motives but, in a conference I gave at the Islamabad National Press Club this week I threw out a challenge to Dr. Khan to either put up or shut up.

In his February 18 interview he said: “Aafia’s release cannot be secured by propagating stories based on falsehood and deception,” and then he went on to tell a lie so blatant that I can no longer remain silent, and here’s why.

He reckons that the iconic photograph of Aafia, slumped to one side with eyes closed, was a stunted up picture taken by her sister Fowzia years ago. He even goes into fine detail explaining her injured mouth, saying that Aafia’s upper lip was cut by a milk bottle in an accident.

Fowzia, he says, warned him at the time that if he tried to divorce Aafia, she would use the picture against him alleging him to be an abusive husband. “It was made to appear in the picture that Aafia was badly injured. Today, the same picture is being circulated in the media to claim that Aafia was tortured for years in Bagram,” he states in The News interview.

There’s no hesitation in this statement – he is very clear about the origins of ‘that picture’. Well I am also clear about the origins of ‘that picture’ because it was taken by the office of the Governor of Ghazni in July 2008.

How do I know? Because the governor told me so himself, and then showed me copies of that and other pictures taken of Aafia on the day of her arrest that he stored on his personal laptop. If you check this unedited footage shot by film-maker Hassan al Banna Ghani who accompanied me on my investigations to Pakistan and Afghanistan last year, the origins of that iconic picture become very clear.

That is why I stood up in a press conference a few days ago and called Dr. Khan a liar, and then invited him to sue me “in a court of his choice” for slander and defamation. As a journalist I know the seriousness of making such a statement and I do not make it lightly but I also mean what I say and say what I mean.

In the meantime, I will let you – the viewer – make your own judgment about the photograph of Dr. Aafia. Perhaps you have your own theories about why her ex-husband would lie. Here is the clip

The divorce was, without doubt, a very bitter experience for both sides as most divorces are. Bitterness can remain a lifetime companion, but at the end of the day Dr. Aafia is the mother of his three children and as such she deserves his support and respect.

If he can’t give it, then I suggest Dr. Khan returns to the shadows once more and stops briefing against his wife.

Sharing details of his failed marriage with Dr. Aafia, serves no purpose although I have to question why Dr. Khan signed a legal agreement whereby the custody of the three children was given to Aafia after their split, if he really thought his wife was (as he portrays in the article) … a violent, unstable woman in the sway of jihadists.

In the meantime two of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s children – Marium now aged 10, and six-year-old Suleiman – are still missing.

Perhaps that is something which would concern any parent, but Dr. Khan states casually: “I am sure they are around Karachi and in contact with their maternal family as both Aafia and the children were seen around their house here and in Islamabad on multiple occasions since their alleged disappearance in 2003.

“They may be living under an assumed identity just like Aafia and Ahmed had been living [as Saliha and Ali Ahsan] for five years before they got arrested.”

He said Dr. Fowzia’s claim that the children are missing after being removed from the Bagram prison in Afghanistan “may be an attempt to attract sympathy of the government and the people and distract its attention from the real location.”

He also attempts to pour cold water on claims that Aafiya was held in US custody, including Bagram for five years – but how would he really know?

I, on the otherhand, have eye witness accounts that the woman known as Prisoner 650 who was held in Bagram for years is none other than Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.

Even the US authorities, after months of denial, finally supported my statements and admitted that Prisoner 650 was indeed a female detainee in their custody.

The only dispute we have now is the identity of Prisoner 650. The US authorities say she isn’t Aafia but refuse to say who she is and to which country she was returned.

I, on the other hand, now have an interview statement given freely by former Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed confirming that Prisoner 650 and Dr. Aafia Siddiqui are one in the same. This man saw her during his time in Bagram and has made a positive identification. His evidence is, in my opinion, irrefutable.

Again, make your own judgments by checking out Binyam Mohamed’s interview through this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGHWcPRBQr8

I now understand Aafia’s case is going to be submitted to the International Court of Justice in  The Hague and that the government of Pakistan is making serious efforts on this issue.

In the meantime the case against Aafia will be resumed in New York later this month after a psychologist and physician give their reports regarding her health and if she is fit to plead.

The court hearing is, in itself, illegal and I’m not sure how it can go ahead. I say that on the basis Aafia, is after all a Pakistani citizen who is being tried for an alleged offence carried out in Afghanistan. She is only standing trial in America because she was put on a rendition flight to America – and was certainly not extradited.

* Yvonne Ridley is a patron of the human rights organisation Cage Prisoners and works as a broadcast journalist. her weekly show The Agenda goes out every Friday evening 8.07(GMT) on Press TV – her website is www.yvonneridley.org

References to this aricle:

Interview with Binyam Mohamed: http://www.presstv.com/programs/player/?id=90350

Interview with Governor of Ghazni: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBhseSkNX68

Interview in The News: http://www.thenews.com.pk/print3.asp?id=20404

Source:lhttp://www.freeaafia.org/updates/46-international-news/115-pak-govt-ordered-to-secure-the-release-of-dr-aafia.htm

Support Appeal For Dr. Afia Siddiqi(Prisoner 650 Bagram Jail)–>AHRC

July 30, 2008 87 comments

A Pakistani Dr. Afia Siddiqi who was kidnapped(with her little children) by Pakistani and USA agencies in 2003 is in Bagram Jail in Afghanistan.

According to media reports she has faced severe torture and due to constant rape by allied force members she has lost her mind.

Please support the appeal for Dr. Afia :

http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAC-167-2008

Where is Dr Afia Siddiqui? AHRC

Dr. Afia Siddiqui [Photo] left her mother’s house in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi, Sindh province, along with her three children, in a Metro-cab on March 30, 2003 to catch a flight for Rawalpindi, Punjab province, but never reached the airport. The press reports claimed that Dr. Afia had been picked-up by Pakistani intelligence agencies while on her way to the airport and initial reports suggested that she was handed over to the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). At the time of her arrest she was 30 years and the mother of three sons the oldest of which was four and the youngest only one month.

A few days later an American news channel, NBC, reported that Afia had been arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of facilitating money transfers for terror networks of Osama Bin Laden. The mother of the victim, Mrs. Ismat (who has since passed away) termed the NBC report absurd. She went on to say that Dr. Afia is a neurological scientist and has been living with her husband, Amjad, in the USA for several years.

On April 1, 2003, a small news item was published in an Urdu daily with reference to a press conference of the then Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat. When questioned with regard to Dr. Afia’s arrest he denied that she had been arrested. This was followed by another Urdu daily article on April 2 regarding another press conference in which the same minister said Dr. Afia was connected to Al Qaeda and that she had not been arrested as she was absconding. He added: “You will be astonished to know about the activities of Dr. Afia” A Monthly English magazine of Karachi in a special coverage on Dr. Afia reported that one week after her disappearance, a plain clothed intelligence went to her mother’s house and warned her, “We know that you are connected to higher-ups but do not make an issue out of your daughter’s disappearance.” According to the report the mother was threatened her with ‘dire consequences’ if she made a fuss.

Whilst Dr. Afia’s whereabouts remain unknown, there are reports of a woman called ‘Prisoner 650′ is being detained in Afghanistan’s Bagram prison and that she has been tortured to the point where she has lost her mind. Britain’s Lord Nazeer Ahmed, (of the House of Lords), asked questions in the House about the condition of Prisoner 650 who, according to him is physically tortured and continuously raped by the officers at prison. Lord Nazeer has also submitted that Prisoner 650 has no separate toilet facilities and has to attend to her bathing and movements in full view of the other prisoners.

Also, on July 6, 2008 a British journalist, Yvonne Ridley, called for help for a Pakistani woman she believes has been held in isolation by the Americans in their Bagram detention centre in Afghanistan, for over four years. “I call her the ‘grey lady’ because she is almost a ghost, a spectre whose cries and screams continues to haunt those who heard her,” Ms Ridley said at a press conference.

Ms Ridley, who went to Pakistan to appeal for help, said the case came to her attention when she read the book, The Enemy Combatant, by a former Guantanamo detainee, Moazzam Begg. After being seized in February 2002 in Islamabad, Mr Begg was held in detention centres in Kandahar and Bagram for about a year before he was transferred to Guantanamo Bay. He recounted his experiences in the book after his release in 2005. Mr. Imran Khan, leader of Justice Party (T.I) suspects that prisoner 650 is the Dr. Afia Siddiqui and USA and Pakistani authorities are hiding facts of ‘Prisoner 650′.

To date, neither the American nor the Pakistani government have come out about the arrest and detention of Dr. Afia in either Bagram or Guantanamo Bay where suspected terrorists are held. On December 30, 2003 Dr. Fawzia Siddiqui, Dr. Afia elder sister met with Mr Faisal Saleh Hayat at Islamabad with Mr Ejazul Haq, MNA, regarding the whereabouts of Dr. Afiai. Mr Faisal told Dr. Fawzia and Mr Ejazul Haq that according to his information Dr. Afia Siddiqui had already been released and that she (Dr. Fawzia) should go home and wait for a phone call from her sister.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Dr. Afia Siddiqui, who studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, for about 10 years and did her PhD in genetics, returned to Pakistan in 2002. Having failed to get a suitable job, she again visited the US on a valid visa in February 2003 to search for a job and to submit an application to the US immigration authorities. She moved there freely and came back to Karachi by the end of February 2003 after renting a post office box in her name in Maryland for the receipt of her mail. It has been claimed by the FBI (Newsweek International, June 23, 2003, issue) that the box was hired for one Mr Majid Khan, an alleged member of Al Qaeda residing in Baltimore.

Throughout March 2003 flashes of the particulars of Dr. Afia were telecast with her photo on American TV channels and radios painting her as a dangerous Al Qaeda person needed by the FBI for interrogation. On learning of the FBI campaign against her she went underground in Karachi and remained so till her kidnapping. The June 23, 2003, issue of Newsweek International was exclusively devoted to Al Qaeda. The core of the issue was an article “Al Qaeda’s Network in America”. The article has three photographs of so-called Al Qaeda members – Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, Dr. Afia Siddiqui and Ali S. Al Marri of Qatar who has studied in the US like Dr. Siddiqui and had long since returned to his homeland. In this article, which has been authored by eight journalists who had access to FBI records, the only charge leveled against Dr. Afia is that “she rented a post-office box to help a former resident of Baltimore named Majid Khan (alleged Al Qaeda suspect) to help establish his US identity.

Fawwaz Siddiqui posted this appeal on our blog(Please support):

Please sign The Petition for the Release of The Pakistani women Dr. Afia Siddiqui & Her 3 Children

To: Un Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights, Amnesty International USA, Islamic Human Rights Commission

We endorse the Appeal for the Release of Dr. Afia Siddiqui & Her 3 Children Petition to Un Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights, Amnesty International USA, Islamic Human Rights Commission.

http://www.petitiononline.com/af258633/petition.html

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