After ten years no end to Afia’s ordeal
Ali Ashraf Khan:
The case of Dr. Afia Siddiqi is a glaring example of the troubled relationships between the US and Pakistan and why Pakistanis hate Americans. Afia’s name came up when Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, one of the alleged planners of the September 11 attacks, was interrogated by the CIA after his arrest on March 1, 2003. Mohammed was tortured by water boarding 183 times and the confessions which were pressed from him during this triggered a series of related arrests shortly thereafter.
Among those victims was the one of Afia Siddiqi who was also said to have married Khalid’s nephew Ammar al-Baloch. When Afia sought separation from her husband and was living in her mother’s house in Karachi with her three minor children she having have lived in the US from her early teen years decided to leave Karachi thinking about her children education and social security, so one morning she left her mother’s home to catch flight for Islamabad with children to complete her travel to US requirements, her mother later in day was looking after the garden that she heard some body knocking the gate, when she opened a man ridding heavy motorcycle was there to inform her that her daughter has been flown by them and don’t create any fuss about it. Perhaps she was arrested by or with the help of Pakistani agencies acting on the command of the US or CIA. This happened in spring 2003 after General Musharraf had two years earlier pledged unqualified allegiance to the US and their so-called war on terror, a decision which he took alone on receiving a single telephone call from then US Secretary of State General Powel without consultation of anybody and even his army high command.
As a result this young woman, a hundred times more qualified than the general, was kidnapped in broad day light while going to airport from home by the Pakistani intelligence may be in collusion with the Americans, handed over to them and taken out of the country to later found in the infamous Bagram airbase prison, another Abu Gharaib. Officially this is denied by the Pakistani army and state until today. It amounts to severe human rights violation and human trafficking sanctioned by General Musharraf and his regime. This is not even saying anything about the crimes committed against the three minor children of Afia, the youngest a baby boy of about six months who has been killed in the process. Officially Afia was unaccounted for from 2003 till 2008 when she managed to escape or was let believe to do so from Bagram prison. She was caught during her flight in Ghazni in July 2008 and taken for interrogation. That was when she was shot and severely wounded at the police compound the following day. Her American interrogators said she grabbed an unattended rifle from behind a curtain and began shooting at them. This version of the US army would never be proven because no fingerprints or other signs of her touching the weapon were ever found. In any case what is for sure that an American interrogator shot her from a close range and wounded her severely? She received medical attention for her wounds at Bagram Air Base and was later flown to the US to be charged in a New York City federal court with concocted charges of attempted murder, and armed assault on U.S. officers and employees. Despite her denying the charges and no prove found she was convicted to 86 years in prison by a kangaroo court trial with the only purpose to create a fear in Muslim Ummah.
Amnesty International monitored the trial for fairness. Four British Parliamentarians called the trial a grave miscarriage of justice that violated the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution as well as the United States’ obligations as a member of the United Nations, and demanded Siddiqui’s release. In a letter to Barack Obama, they stated that there was a lack of scientific and forensic evidence tying Siddiqui to the weapon she allegedly fired. Many of Siddiqui’s supporters, including some international human rights organizations, have claimed that Siddiqui was not an extremist and that she and her young children were illegally detained, interrogated and tortured by Pakistani intelligence, U.S. authorities or both during her five-year so-called disappearance. The U.S. and Pakistan governments have denied all such claims and especially the Pakistani government is denying its involvement in the abduction and torture of a Pakistani citizen and her children as they are denying the abduction torture and killing of hundreds if not thousands of other politically unwanted people like Balochi nationalists, Journalists like Syed Saleem Shahzad and many others.
This PPP government as the previous one both is posing as ‘democratic’ and ‘elected’ but at a closer look they are cruel dictatorial regimes. Former Pakistani ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani, a PPP stalwart and a cozy friend of the US use to phone the family of Afia and assured them that he would do this and that for her release and nothing was done. This information is coming directly from the family. Election doesn’t help democracy. Even Hitler came to power by elections, but that doesn’t mean he was a democrat and it doesn’t absolve him from the policy he pursued. The same is true for Zardari and Obama in their democratic dispensations they are working for Zionist led Christian agenda for clash of civilization. Elections do not absolve President Zardari and his party for the crimes against his own people that were committed including the drone attacks, Abbottabad, Salalah, Balochistan.
The case of Dr. Afia Siddiqi in the light of above facts is a glaring example how the US is trampling human rights with feet if it suit their imperialist policy and how they bulldoze Pakistan’s Courts and Laws that were seen in the fleeing of Raymond Davis when his passport was in government custody under court orders. And Pakistan is happily following suit in the hope of receiving glittering dollar, which is soon going to be worth paper on which it is printed. Happy Birthday Sister Afia. God bless you and Pakistan!
Published in Daily The Frontier Post