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.
By Rauf Klasra
ISLAMABAD: If you thought that only civilian and politicians got billions of rupees worth of loans written off from state-owned banks, you thought wrong.
Records now show that many top military officers got their loans written off. This lucky lot included five lieutenant generals, two major generals and a battalion of other senior uniformed beneficiaries, with some Army (mis)managed institutions to boot.
The Army controlled institutions also got their share from the national plunder with the Army Welfare Trust (AWT) got a massive loan written off worth Rs 14.49 million from a state-owned financial entity, which is now defunct (hardly a surprising fate).
Some of the cases were, however, genuine as their loans were written off in accordance with rules.
According to the official list of loan write-off beneficiaries tabled in the National Assembly, Lt General (retd) Ali Kuli Khan and his father Lt General Habibullah Khan had their loans written off. General Kuli had shot to prominence when he was ignored by the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif in favour of Gen Musharraf in a bid to succeed General Jehangir Karamat as the next COAS.
The list shows that General Kuli Khan got two loans written off from the Allied Bank of Pakistan while he was still serving in the Army in the mid 90s. The first loan was of Rs1.8 million and second was Rs1.6 million outstanding against Janana De Malucho Textile Mills Limited, Kohat owned by his father General (retd) Habibullah Khan. General Kuli was then one of the directors of the textile mills. After the death of General Habib, he became the chief executive of this textile unit. General Habib, too, was a beneficiary of this loan write off.
It’s a little known fact that Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had once served as the staff officer to General Ali Kuli Khan during his stint as Chairman Joint Chiefs of staff in 1998 when Jahangir Karamat was the Chief of Army Staff (COAS). General Kuli shot to prominence within the ruling political circles when he was heard opposing the forced resignation of General Kamarat and had indicated to make Nawaz Sharif ‘fall in line’ if he became the next COAS. Later, Gen Kuli Khan had denied this charge in an interview with this correspondent. But, Ch Nisar Ali Khan had also confirmed to this correspondent in an interview that Ali Kuli was not elevated to the post of the Army chief precisely for this reason after some of his quotes were conveyed to Nawaz Sharif.
Talking to The News from Peshawar, General (retd) Ali Kuli Khan said that he “did not remember” getting any loan written off by him during his military service. General Kuli said, “There might be some rescheduling of the loans by the banks outstanding against the mills.” He said only the politicians get loans written off by using their clout. Of course, general can dare anyone argue with that logic.
Lt General (retd) K M Azhar, who later became active in politics, of Rex Breen Batteries got Rs16 million written off by the Agriculture Development Bank. His business partners were Misbah Azhar, Sward Azhar, Ahmed Jamal Siddiqui, Syed Ijaz Ahmed Hashmi, Mauro Dr Bashir Ahmed.
Lt General (retd) SA Burkey and Lt General (retd) Safdar Butt also figure amongst the happy generals benefiting from the state institutions generosity.
Another prominent name on the list is that of Air Marshal (retd) A Rahim Khan.
Air Marshal (retd) Viqar Azeem also got Rs15 million written off from Pakistani Kuwait Investment Co. Lt General (retd) SA Burkey, Major General Zahid Ali Akbar, Brig MM Mahmood, Begum Omar Mahmood, Saeed Ahmed also got loans written off.
Gohar Ayub Khan, brother of General Kuli Khan—Raza Kuli Khan also got a loan of Rs7.2 million written off against Rehana Woolen Mills. Tariq Ayub Khan, Zahid Ahsan, Ahsan Khan were the directors of the mills whose loan was written off by the financial institution SAPICO.
Major General (retd) M Mumtaz from Abbottabad, Lt Colonel (retd) Shaukat and Major (retd) Tajuddin Rs1.2 million, Major General (retd) Ghaziuddn are also in the list. Major General (retd) G Umar also got Rs8.5 million written off from the Agriculture Development Bank.
Lt General (retd) Safdar Butt, Major General (retd) Abdullah Malik, Brig (retd) M M Mahmood, Col (retd) M Zafar Khan, Mohammad Afzal Khan, Mrs Hamida Farhat also got benefits from the UBL. General (retd) Abdullah had resigned after the military coup of General Zia and had opposed the military take over of July 1977.
Talking to The News, Brig (retd) Mahmood denied that his industrial unit EFF, EFF Industries had got the loan written off. He clarified that he had entered into an agreement with the bank but this package was never implemented until recently.
The list also names Brig (retd) M A Baig and Qamar Ahmad, BA Siddiqi, Zubair Rashid, Mohammad Sadiq Baig, Riazur Rehman, Mrs Mamomnna Khatoon, Mrs Mehr Riaz, Mr Taufiq Ahmed Rs 1.09 million (UBL). Lt-Col (retd) Ch M Anis Ahmed, Col Atta ullah, Shahid Atta, Mst Qamar un Nisa Rs 2.6 million, Irfan Rice Mills of Col (retd) Nazar Hussain Rs 1.6 million, Mehr Textile Mills, Chakwal, Col Mohammad Ayub Khan, Ch Nisar Ali Khan, Ch Asad Ali Khan, Mrs Sultana Zakia, Mohammad Nawaz, Ch Ghulam Ali Khan. Major General (retd) Khadim H Raja, Air Marshal (retd) A Rahim Khan, Mrs Sattar Azim Khan also got loan written off.
Mohammad Textile Mills Limited of Air Commodore (retd) Amanullah got a loan of Rs95 million written off from the UBL. His other business partners were Khurshid Alam, Mohamamd Rafiq, Mrs Bilquis Begum, Tanveer Ahmed, Naseer Ahmed, Begum Sultana Fammay Khan, Sobia Fammy Khan.
Air Vice Marshal (retd) Ata Elahi Sheikh of the National Fructose Limited also got Rs43 million written off. His business partners were Shakirullah Durrani, Mohammad Aslam, Qamaruzaman, Syed Safiullah, Dr Mohammad Yousuf, Khan Akbar Majeed and TR Sariq.
Sairani Cotton Ginning Factory owners Capt (retd) Shahraz Latif and his business partners Shahnaz Latif, Ch Mohammad Ashraf also got loan written off. Air Marshal (retd) A Rashid Sheikh, Air Vice Marshal (retd) S Moinur Rab, Group Captain (retd) Mohammad Ismal Khan, Salman Rashid of Sky Rooms Limited got Rs 8.4 million loan written off. Brig (retd) SM Bakar Naqvi, Mian Ahmed Rabbani, Pervez Iftikar Khan, Abdul Aziz, NM Khanzada and Major (retd) Afzalul Haq also among the beneficiaries.
Col (retd) M Yaqoob of Aswan Tentage and Canvas got a huge loan of Rs276 million written off from Bankers Equity. His other business partners were Col (retd) M Yaqoob, Mohamamd Afzal Chugtai, Mohammad Siddiqi, Haji Ghulam Sabir and Idris Ahmed Butt. Farook Pulp of Mjaor Nasim A Farooqi, Naeem A Farooqi, Pervez Farooqi, Munir Ahmed Khan and Saleem Farooqi got 2.1 million loan written off.
Captain (retd) Shaukat of Locus Enterprises got Rs8.8 million written off. His business partners were Wiqar Abbas, Khalid Khan, Col (retd) M Sadiq Khan, Nabil Hasan, Masoud Abbasi and Abdul Razak. Raja Iftikar Kiani of Ms Alliance Textile Mills, Jhelum got a wavier of Rs16 million from the MCB.
A Lt-Col, who owned the Meditex Intl got Rs6.322 million written off from the HBL. His business partner was Col (retd) Bashir Ahmed. Commander Abdul Latif also got Rs 10 million written off. Shangrila Macropole Inn, Lahore got Rs4.3 million loan written off. Brig (retd) Mohammad Aslam Khan and Co got Rs4.3 million written off. Feroz Sons Textile Mills Mirpur owners Col (retd) Munir Hussain, Nasim Farms’s and Major General (retd) Qazi Nasim Majeed are also among the beneficiaries.
Col (retd) Saleem of Special Iron and Steel Mills Limited, Lt General (retd) Habibullah Khan, Brig (retd) M Jan Hahang M Khandawala, Raza Kuli Khan, Col (retd) M Sharif Khan, Begum Tehmina Habibullah, M I Khurram, M Nazir Khan and IA Khurram are also among the beneficiaries.
Major (retd) Mohamamd Anwar, S Aijaz Ali Shah, S Amjad Ali Shah, S Ghulam Qadir, S Aftab Ali Shah, S Ali Gohar Shah, S Amin Shah also on the list. Lt-Col (retd) M Jaffar, JH Dinshaw Rs 7.2 million, Chemphar Pakistan Limited of Brig (retd) Shareef Rahat, Captain (retd) AM Murad and Major (retd) Tariq Baig are also among the beneficiaries.
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.
Imran says he got positive response from Taliban–>We support this initiative from Imran Khan and demand the government and urge the people to honestly support it.
At last someone from politicians finally volunteered for the cause of peace in Pakistan. We cannot expect any good from parliamentarians, government, army or agencies to work for the cause of peace because it will not serve their greed and lust for power.
People like Imran Khan , other leaders from PTI and Jamat e Islami,Ulemas who are trusted by tribesmen and other religious and political figures need to make a joint effort for this cause and this should be backed by the trust of Pakistani people and government.
Army and agencies shouldn’t try to deceive the people this time as they have already created a huge mess just for dollars and to serve their imperialist masters.
We support this initiative from Imran Khan and demand the government and urge the people to honestly support it.
We need to get out of this war against humanity and peace, we are already too late and cannot afford more damage.
We oppose the killings of innocent people in army actions, suicide bombings or in any other way.
Imran says he got positive response from Taliban
By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan, who on Wednesday offered his services and even showed the willingness to go to the tribal areas to get the mounting terrorism issue resolved through political dialogue, got encouraging response from the Taliban side. His appeal, however, seems to have fallen on the governmentís deaf ears.
The cricket hero-turned-social worker, Imran Khan, told The News on Thursday that after his Wednesday’s press conference, he was contacted by some important Taliban groups, who posed their full confidence in him for political solution of the problem. Khan said that no one from the government side contacted him though.
Imran Khan on Wednesday volunteered to mediate between the government and the Taliban leadership to bring peace, claiming that the menace of terrorism was bound to grow because of the military operation in South Waziristan and in the absence of a political solution.
In his press conference, he had said that if the government gave him the mandate, he was willing to travel to the tribal areas and elsewhere to negotiate peace. His only pre-condition to mediation between the two sides was that the government would not let the US-pressure to ruin his peace efforts like the past.
While some people believe the government has no political strategy to address the issue and is entirely dependent on the military operation that has allegedly aggravated the problem, Imran has taken a bold step amidst great chances that he would be dubbed pro-Taliban by confused Pakistanis and arrogant foreigners.
Imran Khan got an encouraging reaction from some Taliban leaders. Khan said that he was now even considering convening an all parties conference (APC) on the issue. Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazlur Rehman Group) are also opposed to the military operation and seek a political solution to the problem by revisiting Pakistanís policy on the US war on terror, formulating an independent foreign policy and bringing an immediate halt to the military operation in the tribal areas, particularly South Waziristan.
Although, Maulana Fazlur Rehman is not appearing in the media these days, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Professor Munawar Hasan has become vocal in his opposition to the military operation. Interestingly, the PML-N is also not supportive of the present military operation but it lacks the guts to public its demand a political solution to terrorism. However, the party is not making its views public amid reports that it does not want to irritate Washington that is today quite pleased with the party and its top leadership.
In this situation, Imran Khanís daring initiative to do what others are shy to do, is expected to bring pressure on all other pro-dialogue parties, including the PML-N, the JI and the JUI(F) to sit together and chalk out a strategy where the government could be pressurised to save its innocents, whether in the tribal areas or in settled areas of Pakistan from being killed.
Recent attack in the Parade Lane mosque Rawalpindi which is one of the most secured areas of the country taking lives of dozens of people and then the drone attack by USA forces in our northern part of country taking lives of 50 people are calling for a serious revision of our foreign and security policies especially with respect to this American lead war against humanity and peace or so called war against terror.
Whether innocent people are dying in drone attacks, military operations or suicide bombings the historical fact is they don’t add to the cause of peace but result in more terrorist activities which lead to more military operations and so this vicious cycle of death and fear is going on and on with no real directions.
We don’t see any real measures for peace except for lies and false claims by our government and security institutions that are not willing to come out of this weapon-blood-dollar game because of their personal greed and foreign self-imposed pressure.
Another thing which our government does is to gather ‘Ulemas’ and religious scholars to give joint statements or ‘Fatwas’ against the suicide bombings and to declare these acts against the teachings of Islam which is true and factual but it has not proved worthy enough to stop these attacks and the prime reason is that this is not a matter of religion or personal faith.
Resistance in Afghanistan is surely backed by religious and nationalist sentiments as their land is occupied by foreign imperialist powers but in case of Pakistan it is due to our imperialist sponsored security and foreign policy backed by our unjust and cruel actions against our own people that we are seeing one of the most terrible times of our history where life seems to have no value.
The main contributor to this mess was surely Musharraf and his ruling junta of that time which for their lust for power, greed of wealth and so called international stature put Pakistan into a great mess that nation is finding itself into an apparent hopeless condition.
The Musharraf government’s submissive policies in front of America and allies, giving permission to foreign security agencies to operate in Pakistan, illegal abduction and selling of Pakistanis and others without any legal procedure and protecting the basic human rights, extra judicial killings to please foreign powers, merciless bombings of civilian areas in the name of hunting down few terrorists, creating sectarian and ethnic tension among masses to extend his rule and this baseless war, giving no respect to country laws and creating a sense of deprivation of rights and alienation among the people living in tribal areas and Baluchistan all have summed up to this mess.
Current elected government and military establishment are no different in their overall strategy and policies except for few cosmetic changes which are mainly made to run this war effectively. Our role has become a client state and our army is fighting like a deadly mercenary force killing its own people. If someone criticizes the war or protests against the violation of national sovereignty then he or she becomes eligible for the titles of extremist, fundamentalist, Taliban supporter or even traitor.
Media machinery is also being utilized by establishment to gather support for this and they are especially targeting the youth by promoting propaganda specialists and so called think tanks to spread war hysteria in the name of patriotism and nationalism and also glorifying the security institutions and their role in country affairs.
This seems to be a never ending game due to our self destructive policies which has gone worse with the involvement of foreign player’s contribution and even for that I say we have provided them the ground to play evil.
We seriously need to think our way out of this war if we want to survive as a nation and exist on the map as an independent state of this world for this we need to think and act as an honest, just and freedom loving nation putting everyone on board. We need to bring everyone on table with sincerity not in the hypocritical manner our security agencies did previously and these talks also need to include those people we are killing in Waziristan, Sawat, Bajaur and elsewhere.
We also need to compensate the losses of the victims of military actions and provide justice to the people who suffered by the actions of our governments and military by putting the responsible figures of this mess like Musharraf in front of the system of justice as without it all confidence building measures will be considered as words of mouth.
May Allah show us the right path and give peace to the innocent souls of people who lost their lives in this war.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari does not need adversaries as he is his own worst enemy. He shouldn’t be worried about the conspiracies, if any, of his political foes, the establishment or his perceived opponent — Geo and a few journalists associated with the Jang Group — because he himself is in a self-destructive mode.
Perhaps not many would be bothered as to what he does to himself but the big worry is about his style of governance which is marred by inaction and indifference at a time when there is a need to do a lot and seriously.
His strange and incomprehensible attitude is damaging Pakistan and threatening the whole system. To be precise and candid, if I am allowed to express my personal view, there is no greater threat to democracy and the system than the president himself. Others have the right to differ.
Getting to the Presidency or the chief executive’s office through democratic means, does not mean anything if the promises made are disregarded, election manifesto is overlooked, institutions are ruined, constitutional distortions are subtly protected to thrust and sustain a one man rule that could be described as civilian dictatorship, and parliament is ignored and cabinet is turned into a non-entity. All of this is happening under Zardariís rule.
Although the president has pointed his finger at Geo and Jang Group as his sole enemy, he conveniently ignored what the whole world says about his style of government, his growing unpopularity, mounting corruption of his regime and his men.
Read the foreign newspapers and magazines, look what is coming from Paris about the submarine deal, go through the international surveys about the record-breaking corruption to adjudge the reputation of Zardari-led political dispensation. You will find that Pakistan is hurting.
Ask the political parties, get the pulse of the military establishment, talk to the members of the civil bureaucracy and even have a heart to heart discussion with the PPP leaders including those holding public office, there is a consensus that the president is doing just contrary to what the situation demands. Pakistan is confronted with Himalaya like challenges but its president appears non-serious to face them and get them resolved. No matter what he said in his last public speech made from the Presidency, now generally termed his bunker, he knows how he is seen by all the stakeholders and how much he is trusted.
Media has always served as an easy prey for every government. What President Zardari also did on last Wednesday was no different from the past? We know the Jang Group has committed ìsinî by unearthing corruption scandals, one after the other, and by consistently highlighting tales of murder of merit, favouritism, bad governance. We are also ìresponsibleî for reminding the president and his government of promises, commitments and pledges that remained unfulfilled. President Zardari may not like it but we would continue doing so because it is our fundamental responsibility and this is what the media has been doing in the past.
We have nothing personal against anyone. We donít seek any personal favour, plots, foreign trips and lucrative positions. We neither conspire nor claim to be the kingmakers. We are just messengers and opinion makers. We may be accused of running campaigns or getting biased but all such campaigns or biases, if any, would be directed for institution building, rule of law, justice and fair play. The deserted ousted dictator General (retd) Musharraf also thought that we were biased against him. To an extent he was right that we were biased. But our bias was not against him but to achieve the goal of independence of judiciary in Pakistan. We achieved the goal for which the whole nation takes pride today.
Our criticism against the president and his regime is based on similar biases, which should not be misinterpreted in any other manner. Needless to say that we are biased against corruption, we are biased against nepotism and violation of merit, we are biased against misrule, we are biased against undemocratic postures of the democrats, we are biased against weakening of the institutions, we are biased against military rule as well as civilian dictatorship and certainly we are biased against anything that in any manner harms our homeland.
Mediaís criticism is nowhere seen as a ìconspiracyî to make or break governments. Instead, it is taken by the matured minds and civilised societies as a chance to improve governance, better service delivery, address injustices and serve the public interest.
President Zardari may not like it but he needs to change himself if he wants to secure his presidency. It may also not sound music to his ears but he also needs to change his company by getting rid of the tainted sycophants, dirtied courtiers, corrupt to the core souls and some ìknownî agents of MI6 and CIA, surrounding him. He has to act without any further delay to undo the 17th Amendment, implement the Charter of Democracy and check corruption. Otherwise, he would continue getting weaker and weaker with every passing day. But for his own follies and failings, there is no reason to blame others, particularly the media, which is the mirror, whom the politician always support and admire when out of power intoxication.
If we need a revolution or something , we need genuine thinkers and visionaries not so called hakims or so called spiritualists .
If we need a revolution or something , we need genuine thinkers and visionaries not so called hakims or so called spiritualists who copy the ideas re-mold them into their dirty deceptive agenda and use the names and work of great genuine people like Iqbal, Jinnah etc for their bogus agenda. I am seeing lots of good people following these deceivers just in the name of nationalism, patriotism etc .
My suggestion is to use your free mind and sense of justice so that you don’t get misguided by these so called nationalists.
Some of my friends on these views of mine against the war think that I support the terrorists for them I need to say:
Opposing the war doesn’t mean supporting the terrorists.
I consider both army and the suicide bombers or terrorists who are killing the innocent civilians as destroyers of peace and don’t find their actions as just.
The problem is when I oppose the war the “nationalists” think as if I am supporting the
terrorists in fact I am opposing the mess and pointing out to destroy the root cause.
I consider prime responsible for this mess are army and government and reason is they
brought an unwanted war on our land and people.
I oppose the killings of innocent civilians in suicide bombs and by army/air force bombings
but again I consider prime responsibility goes to the country institutions because they (means their key heads rest are just blind followers) created the mess for dollars and this mess has created terrorism.
It was army and government who breached the agreement made by Jinnah for dollars.
It was again army and government with allied forces in Afghanistan with their missile attacks and drone attacks destroyed three peace deals after 2004 .
Before this operation ISPR and Information ministry deliberately tried to mold the facts as if the agreements were broken by tribes but even former army generals like Asad Durrani rejected these claims.
Try to find out how “Neik Muhammad” got killed after the peace deal by USA missile attack and then look at the government reaction of owning it.
The terrorist activities can mainly be categorized as:
1) Revenge of the innocent killings by our forces here and Allied forces in Afghanistan.
Also our support in the form of giving supply route to NATO supplies and Drone attacks are playing it’s part as well.
2) Revenge and anger exploited by enemies of Pakistan but its our fault we are providing them the ground to play with.
3) Attacks like on Shariah academy,Peshawar and Benazir were done by players of weapon-blood-dollar game which includes enemies of Pakistan who want us to remain engaged in the war (so called allies in the so called war against terror) and their pets in our own ranks (politicians, military and civil establishment etc).
After the blast which killed Benazir Bhutto the place and all the evidence was washed within hours and a drama was created to link it with tribal situation which never got proved.
My question is who was being protected here?
4) Not to forget the ethnic and sectarian cards which Musharraf government played with their allied parties and groups to control power, they have also contributed a lot to this mess.
My questions are:
Can we support innocent killings in the name of nationalism?
Can we support injustice in the name of patriotism?
And after doing that can we expect peace?
That’s a real shameful way of providing so called chance to defend in front of the court. You cannot have your own lawyers, body search cannot be relaxed for a feeble ,90 lbs lady who was shot and tortured by USA security forces.
We protest on the injustice being done with Dr. Aafia by USA courts.
US judge rejects Aafia’s objections to her
by The Nation
A federal judge, setting aide Aafia Siddiqui’s objections over her legal defence team at a pre-trial session, has ruled that she would have to be represented by the lawyers who have already been approved by the US District Court.Ms. Siddiqui, the Pakistani neuroscientist is scheduled to stand trial on January 19 for the attempted murder of U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan last year, after Judge Richard Berman declared her mentally fit to face court proceedings.The neroscientist argued before Judge Berman on Tuesday that she does not need the three lawyers retained by the Pakistan government to defend her, saying she wanted to make peace and knew how to do it. She made that plea at what is called “Status Conference” which is held to clear the decks for a trial. The session involved Judge Berman, Ms. Siddiqui, her defence team and the prosecutors. The lawyers, retained by the government of Pakistan, are: Ms. Linda Moreno, Ms. Elaine Sharp and Charles Swift. They were cleared by the court on September 2. The judge briefed the conference on his discussions with Ms. Siddiqui at a 1-1/2-hour closed-door session in which her lawyers were also present. He also said Ms. Siddiqui expressed her outrage at the humiliating strip search she has to undergo before coming to the court. Reacting to her protest, the judge said he had ordered the prison authorities to find a way so that she does not have to go through the tough procedure. While the judge said it was necessary for her to be in the court, she could participate through video-conference if the body search requirement could not be relaxed.