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Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’

Witnesses’ accounts differ at Dr. Aafia’s trial –>DAWN

January 21, 2010 1 comment

Source : http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/14-witnesses-accounts-differ-at-dr-aafia-trial-zj-01

KARACHI: The trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui has taken a bizarre turn when a witness’s testimony came out to be different from the one given by American official Captain Schnieder, reports DawnNews.

Furthermore, an FBI agent testified that they did not find Dr. Aafia’s finger-prints on the rifle.

The US federal court in Manhattan heard Aafia Siddiqui and 5 other witnesses. Dr. Aafia told the court that she is being misrepresented by the prosecutor’s statement regarding the things she has said about America, that only negative thoughts are being portrayed.

According to DawnNews’ correspondent in New York, Masood Haider, the court heard witnesses who saw the incident including an Afghan interpreter, Ahmed Gul who became a green card holder in 2009 and was processed by the American government and now lives in New York. Abdul previously claimed that he saw Dr. Aafia shoot at the US soldiers.

There was also a cross examination of witnesses and forensic experts and FBI. On the second day of the trial, four witnesses came under cross-questioning.

In the previous hearing, Captain Schnieder told the court that Dr. Aafia shot at him while she was on her knees.

But on the second day of the trial, Ahmed Gul told the court that Dr. Aafia was standing when she fired the gun and the gun was pointing at some other official.

The Afghan interpreter also told the court that he has been granted a green card and has been settled in America by the officials who brought him to testify in the trial.

During the hearing, one FBI official told the court that they found Dr. Aafia’s fingerprints on the documents but not on the gun, Masood Haider said.

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’s kidnapping FIR lodged–>The News

December 16, 2009 1 comment

Source: http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=26092

By Salis bin Perwaiz

KARACHI: The Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station here has registered an FIR for the kidnapping of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, along with her three minor children. The FIR was lodged against personnel of an unidentified law-enforcement agency, and a case was filed on the complaint of Dr Aafia’s sister.

Gulshan-e-Iqbal SHO Rustam Nawaz said they received a complaint from Dr Fauzia Siddiqui in which she stated that her younger sister, Dr Aafia Siddiqui, resident of House No: 140E, Block 7, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, on March 30, 2003, left the house for the Karachi airport, along with her three children, to board a flight to Rawalpindi. She, along with her three children, was kidnapped by a member of an unidentified law-enforcement agency en route to the airport.

SHO Nawaz said the complainant further alleged she had also submitted many applications to police stations concerned as well as government officials, including ministers, but to date no action had taken place nor was it clear which agency had kidnapped her younger sister. Furthermore, subsequently it came to their knowledge that Dr Aafia Siddiqui is in an American jail, facing trial.

SHO Nawaz said the application was forwarded to his seniors and after getting their approval, FIR-773/09 was lodged for the kidnapping of Dr Aafia Siddiqui along with her three minor children against unidentified persons or LEA personnel.

International Human Rights Day OR International Hypocrisy Day

December 10, 2009 4 comments

After violating the human rights for whole year the so called civilized people celebrate international human rights day on 10 December.

Today (10 December 2009) Obama got Nobel peace prize for his anticipation for the cause of peace. He is same Obama who is sending more troops to Afghanistan for a baseless war to kill innocent people in the name of fighting terrorism, he is the same president of USA who accelerated the drone attacks on civilian population in Pakistan, he is the same person who is backing off from his promise to close Guantanamo bay prison  and still he is the selected representative of peace according to Nobel prize committee.

It is really amazing how so called civilized people support the civilian killings in the war against humanity and peace which they call war against terror even after knowing that use of brutal force and indiscriminate bombing which USA and NATO does on Afghans, Pakistan Army does on Pakistanis, Israel on Palestinians, India on Kashmiris and elsewhere are against the international human rights norms and regulations which the so called civilized world drafted themselves.

Social-Economic exploitation is still going on and again the main culprits are so called civilized governments, institutions and leaders of the world. The only thing the civilized world does is to cash those issues in the name of forming global funds, world organizations, international courts and so on but issues and disputes are as severe as they were in fact the situation has gone worse.

I don’t know how celebrating this day will help people dying of imperialist policies and totalitarian governments or people like Aafia Siddiqi and many like her who are not considered to be treated like human beings because of their ethnic or religious affiliation.

I think International Human Rights Day should be celebrated as International Hypocrisy Day.

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

Dr Aafia’s court appearance raises questions–>A shame for American democracy,concepts of human rights and a test case for American judicial system

August 16, 2008 2 comments

United4Justice:Dr Aafia’s case is a real shame for American democracy, concepts of human rights and civil liberty and a real test case for American judicial system.

It’s a real shameful aspect of American society that the US media(influenced by zionists and neo-cons) is portraying a real false image of innocent Dr. Aafia.

No matter what the charges (even I say right or wrong), the treatment with a lady and a mother of 3 children (Allah knows where the 2 children are, whether alive or become a part of a long list of innocent people who lost their lives and stature of human beings in the war against humanity (which US calls terrorism)).

Elizabeth Fink, the lawyer of Dr. Aafia rightly said to the media, “Of course they found all this stuff on her. It was planted on her…. She is the ultimate victim of the American dark side.”

Dr Aafia’s court appearance raises questions(Daily Times)

* Amnesty International calls US govt’s account of Aafia attacking officials ‘extraordinary’
* Security official says federal prosecutors concerned that Dr Aafia’s case is being oversold as coup against terrorism

LAHORE: The United States military has rejected claims that Pakistani doctor Aafia Siddiqui, who has been missing for the past five years, was being illegally detained and tortured, a report in the Christian Science Monitor said on Friday.

The report said, Siddiqui appeared before a US court in Brooklyn, New York, last week on charges of attempting to murder American servicemen in an Afghanistan shooting incident.

But her first court appearance has raised disturbing questions about her treatment and the conduct of the war on terror, with lawyers claiming she was secretly arrested five years ago, tortured by Afghan and US officials, and framed for crimes she did not commit.

The charges are the latest wrinkle in a case that has pitted the governments of the US, Afghanistan, and Pakistan against Siddiqui’s family and lawyers as well as international human rights groups.

Agence France-Presse reports that the US military has rejected claims that Siddiqui was being held in military detention during the five years she was missing, the report said.

“She has never been held in US military custody,” spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Rumi Nielson-Green told AFP.

Extraordinary: But outside observers have begun to doubt the credibility of the US military’s claims.

Sam Zarifi, Asia-Pacific director for Amnesty International, called the government’s account “extraordinary” in an interview with National Public Radio (NPR).

“It seems extraordinary to imagine that four US agents who’d gone to pick her up, two military, two FBI, along with at least two Afghan translators, were somehow surprised by this woman, who overpowered them, grabbed a gun, flipped the safety, fired off a couple of shots, and then could only be subdued by shots to the torso,” said [Zarifi].

“If the story suggested by the US government is accurate, it paints a very unflattering picture of the competence of forces who are literally on the frontlines of the ‘war on terror’,” he said. “If the US story is not true, then we’re looking at a serious breach of US and international law when a prisoner in custody is shot.”

Coup: A law enforcement official who didn’t want to be named said federal prosecutors in Manhattan were concerned that the case against Siddiqui was being oversold as a coup against terrorism.

“It’s not clear it was even a target list,” the official said.

Siddiqui’s legal team paints a very different picture of what has happened to their client. They say she has been set up by the government, with one of her lawyers, Elizabeth Fink, telling the Associated Press, “Of course they found all this stuff on her. It was planted on her…. She is the ultimate victim of the American dark side.”

At a hearing on Monday, a Manhattan federal magistrate-judge ordered Siddiqui, wounded in the July 18 shooting incident, to get a physical examination within 24 hours. Her next court date was postponed until September. She appeared in court in a wheelchair.

NPR reports that Siddiqui’s lawyers say she was arrested in 2003, shortly after she disappeared in Pakistan with her three children, and was held and tortured in a secret US prison in Afghanistan. Siddiqui has also been identified by her legal team as the mysterious “prisoner 650” at Bagram Air base, a female prisoner in solitary confinement that other prisoners claim to have heard screaming.

Siddiqui’s lawyer, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, told NPR that she suspects her client was set up. She suspects Siddiqui was being held captive, was dropped off at the compound and then was immediately picked up again with “conveniently incriminating evidence”.

Whitfield Sharp says she has proof that Siddiqui was actually being held at Bagram Air Base, in a secret prison in Afghanistan, for the past five years. The FBI, the Justice Department and CIA officials say unequivocally that they haven’t been holding Siddiqui and don’t know where she has been the past five years. daily times monitor

Peddle-a-Citizen Inc.–> by Babar Sattar in The News

August 16, 2008 3 comments

A very informative article is written by Mr. Babar Sattar in The News related to Dr. Afia Siddiqi case(must read).

Peddle-a-Citizen Inc.
Legal eye

Saturday, August 16, 2008
Babar Sattar

The writer is a lawyer based in Islamabad. He is a Rhodes scholar and has an LL.M from Harvard Law School

“We have captured 689 [members of Al Qaeda] and handed over 369 to the United States. We have earned bounties totalling millions of dollars. Those who habitually accuse us of ‘not doing enough’ in the war on terror should simply ask CIA how much prize money it has paid to the government of Pakistan,” boasts General Musharraf on page 237 of his autobiography. Who were these 369 Al Qaedians and how many of them are citizens of Pakistan, the general doesn’t state. Was Dr Afia Siddiqui amongst them? Did she fetch the general hefty prize money for being kidnapped from Karachi in 2003 under the watchful eye of his regime and transported to the US penitentiary in Bagram? Can a government indulge in a trade more reprehensible than trafficking citizens?

The general further states in In the line of Fire (page 238) that “the policy followed by Pakistan on the extradition of foreigners has been first to ask their countries of origin to take them back. If a country of origin refuses (as is normally the case), we hand the prisoner over to the United States.” Whence did the general derive this authority to script his own extradition policy? Did no one tell this man – who, to the misfortune of our troubled land and its battered populace, has been at the country’s helm for too long – that in Pakistan the extradition of citizens and foreigners alike is governed by a law called The Extradition Act, 1972? This law mandates that “every fugitive offender shall be liable to be apprehended and surrendered in the manner provide in this Act.”

Under Section 6 of the Extradition Act a foreign state must requisition the Pakistani government for the surrender of a fugitive offender. To pursue the request, the government must order a judicial inquiry into the extradition offense to be conducted by a magistrate pursuant to Section 7. Under Section 11, if “the federal government is of the opinion that the fugitive offender ought to be surrendered” in view of the enquiry conducted by the magistrate under Section 8, “it may issue a warrant for the custody and removal of the fugitive offender and for his delivery at a place and to a person to be named in the warrant.” While the Pakistani government has the right to simply refuse a foreign state’s extradition request without even ordering an enquiry, it has no authority whatsoever to hand a prisoner over to the US without abiding by the judicial due process.

It is not that Pakistan and the US do not have a sufficient basis for exchanging fugitives under the formal extradition framework. The two countries also have a treaty arrangement too. An extradition treaty was signed between the US and the UK in London on Dec 22, 1931, and its provisions were extended to British India from March 9, 1942. As a successor state Pakistan inherited the treaty obligations. And after the Extradition Act entered into force on Feb 20, 1973, the Pakistani government formally endorsed the US-UK treaty for being in operation in Pakistan, in accordance with Section 3(1) of the Extradition Act. But why should the US bother to go through a formal extradition process with all its attendant procedural and substantive protections (read inconvenience) when the Pakistani government is more than pleased to sweep up citizens and foreigners alike in the name of fighting terror and cart them off to secret US detention centres across the globe?

It is true that the Bush administration has singlehandedly run into dirt the image of the US as a friend and advocate of rule of law. Human rights and civil liberties groups within the US are dismayed at the post-9/11 legislative acts and executive policies of the Bush administration and the substantive harm they have done to erode established standards of human rights protections around the globe. The infamous Patriot Act is one such measure. On Nov 13, 2001, President Bush passed the Military Order – “Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War Against terrorism” – under which non-US nationals can be meted out military justice at the president’s discretion: tried in a military court devoid of ordinary procedural protections; detained in conditions prescribed by the Secretary of Defence; and with no right of appeal before any court of law.

Thus in its post-9/11 madness. The US has deliberately introduced discrimination within its justice system on the basis of nationality. What won the Bush administration almost as much disrepute domestically and around the world as the Patriot Act/Military Order was the leaked Torture Memo drafted by the US Department of Justice to advise the Bush Administration and the CIA. It stated that the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment implemented under title 18 of the US Code “prohibits only the most extreme acts by reserving criminal penalties solely for torture and declining to require such penalties for cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Torture was defined as physical pain “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.”

Would parading alien prisoners naked or even their rape in US penitentiaries amount to torture? Not under the legal advice rendered by the Department of Justice in the Torture Memo. The US laws and policies specially contrived to persecute non-US nationals is a matter of record, as are narratives of appalling abuses carried out with impunity in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo under the Bush administration. Civilized countries have protested these despicable US laws and practices and also exhibited reluctance to extradite even foreigners to the US due to the knowledge that their basic rights will stand prejudiced post-extradition. But even in its deranged terror-phobic mode, the US has restricted itself to abusing and torturing non-nationals only.

One thing the Musharraf regime cannot be held liable for is nationality-based discrimination. The Afia Siddiqui case highlights the Musharraf regime’s policy of trafficking citizens and foreigners alike, oblivious to all legal and moral constraints.

Why fault the Bush administration for torturing Dr Siddiqui and denying her fundamental rights? Did President Bush swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and the citizens of Pakistan? The crucial question is not whether Afia Siddiqui can be tried in the US after being arrested in Afghanistan, but who ordered her kidnapping from Karachi and transportation to the Bagram prison in 2003 and who all in Pakistan are complicit in this illegal and shameful act. One of the most fundamental promises of our Constitution stated in Article 9 is that “no person shall be deprived of life or liberty, save in accordance with law.” Article 10 further guarantees that no person shall be arrested and detained for a period of over 24 hours without being produced before a magistrate.

Dr Afia Siddiqui has been denied these fundamental rights and so have hundreds of others who have been missing for years. How do our rulers sleep at night when they reign over a state that treats its own in the fashion that we have treated Afia Siddiqui and other missing persons? In face of such disgrace and illegality being perpetrated by the executive, can the judiciary pursue a conscientious course of action other than that being followed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary—i.e., to require law enforcement agencies to account for disappeared citizens and plug their trafficking? The people of Pakistan and the PPP-led government must do all they can to highlight the atrocities that have been committed against Afia Siddiqui and provide her all the assistance she needs in defending herself against fabricated US charges – right out of a badly scripted movie.

But Dr Siddiqui’s life, liberty and dignity would not have been at the mercy of the US had she not been wronged by the Musharraf regime in the first place. There is no point directing all our ire against the Yanks when it is actually our saviours at home who are culpable in the first resort. Did Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi feel no shame while shedding crocodile tears in the Parliament over the treatment being meted out to Afia Siddiqui, despite the fact that she was kidnapped and hauled to Afghanistan under his government’s watch. Instead of passing hollow resolutions against the US to reclaim the nation’s honour, the parliament should (a) order an inquiry into the kidnapping of Afia Siddiqui, (b) ensure that all other missing persons are accounted for immediately, and (c) include in the charge-sheet against the General his admission of carting individuals to the US in utter disregard of our legal and constitutional provisions.

Email: sattar@post.harvard.edu

Peaceful Protest against abduction of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

August 7, 2008 13 comments

Peaceful Protest against abduction of

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

by Pakistani Agencies in shameful manner and her selling

to USA with her three children

Thursday, 07 August 2008, 5:30 p.m. (sharp)

Parade Ground, Opp. Parliament Building,

Islamabad


This is a wakeup call for Ibn-e-Qasims as Dr. Aafia

Siddiqui, Prisoner # 650 calls you for help from

Bagram Airbase where she’s being tortured and

raped.

Protest to be joined by Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers,

Teachers, Students, Civil Society Activists, Families and

Children of Twin Cities

Pakistan Professionals Forum

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