Dr Aafia appeal to Pakistan Chief Justice
July 13, 2011
The Daily DAWN
ISLAMABAD : Dr Fowzia Siddiqui, a sister of Aafia Siddiqui, has appealed to Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice of the government’s “apathy towards her sister’s plight”. In a letter sent to the chief justice, Dr. Siddiqui wrote that her sister was sentenced to 86 years in prison “on grounds of a charge she did not commit”.
“Dr Aafia is a Pakistani citizen born in Pakistan who never held any other citizenship or nationality but even to this day representatives of our government claim (that) she is not, in an attempt to disown her,” said the letter.
It alleged that the government ignored the Lahore High Court ruling which called for diplomatic efforts for Dr Aafia’s release. A similar ruling by Islamabad High Court was also ignored.
Neither was the issue taken to the International Court of Justice nor was it raised in the United Nations, said the letter. No official demand for her repatriation was made.
When some former members of the US Congress wanted to visit Pakistan to expedite the process for Dr Aafia’s repatriation they were denied visas, the letter alleged.
The letter said that Dr Aafia was stripped and tortured and the Holy Quran was desecrated before her. “The last day of appeal passed yet she was not allowed to meet the lawyers of her choice and her family members,” it said.
“Aafia was never charged with terrorism but our government never made a strong demand for her release and certain elements led on to defame her,” said the letter.
The US and Pakistani governments engaged lawyers to defend her who she had rejected. “…I personally wrote to judge Richard Berman, and talked to Ambassador (Husain) Haqqani, Foreign Office, (and) interior ministry requesting these lawyers (be) fired and Aafia be provided lawyers of her choice, but to no avail….” Because Aafia is a Pakistani, there was no reason for her to be tried in the US, said the letter. Her trial was illegal, her transfer from Pakistan to Afghanistan and Afghanistan to US illegal, all against every international law. She received no consular access in Afghanistan, an obvious breach of the Vienna Convention. The letter alleged that Dr Aafia “still has no consular access… she has no visitation rights and remains in solitary confinement. All these pleas were made in court of law and applications given to all persons concern, but letters went unanswered and pleas went unheard.” “To bring Aafia home, we need your help, although leading a march to Creswell prison in Texas where Dr Aafia is being held or staging a sit-in outside the Parliament House to weaken our silent government is outside your sphere of responsibility, but a similar march… resulted in your ability to uphold justice today, and in April resulted in Aafia’s children getting the first phone call from their mother in eight years.”