By Hammad Cheema
Imran Khan, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), has expressed his disgust and anger over the way the whole Dr Aafia Siddiqui case has ended in what is clearly a travesty of justice. He has demanded three things from the State of Pakistan and the USA:
First: the Pakistani people have a right to know how Dr Aafia Siddiqui, with three minor children, landed up in Bagram Base. He demanded that the Pakistan government needs to answer this clearly as does the US. Did the Pakistani authorities covertly hand over Dr Siddiqui with her young children to the Americans? Or did the Americans kidnap her in Pakistan and successfully take her out into Afghanistan? What has been the fate of her children, since two of them are still missing?
How could a frail woman manage to attack US soldiers who surrounded her? Did she suddenly acquire superwoman or bionic abilities?
Second: Why has the Pakistan government not taken proper action to ensure her return to Pakistan? Are they not aware of the fact that apart from the injustice and abuse of a Pakistani woman, the injustice meted out to Dr Aafia is going to add to the difficulties of the Pakistani military’s fight in the tribal belt as well as increasing anti-Americanism and extremism? For Pakistan this will create more space for militancy.
Just as the Lal Masjid episode was a watershed for a qualitative change in the rising tide of militancy and extremism, so the Dr Aafia sentencing will become another watershed in this direction of creating more space for extremism and militancy.
Three: Who aided and abetted the Americans in Pakistan? The Pakistan government must not only expose those who aided and abetted the kidnapping of Dr Aafia, but must also mete out exemplary punishment to them. In 2003 when Imran Khan contacted Dr Aafia’s mother in order to give a statement in Aafia’s support, her mother was terrified and told Imran that she had been warned that if any such statements were made, Dr Aafia would be killed.
It is a national shame that the state of Pakistan, instead of protecting its citizens, has been aiding and abetting in their disappearances, their torture and their abuse. It is time to put an end to all this lest the nation take things into their own hands.