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