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Rally demands release of Aafia Siddiqui

Repatriation of Aafia to improve the US image in Muslim world: Pasban leaders

Karachi, July 31: A rally, staged here on Wednesday, demanded immediate release and return of Pakistani woman scientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

The rally, organized by Pasban Karachi chapter, marched from the Masjid-e-Khizra to Karachi Press Club (KPC). The participants, carrying the portraits of Aafia, raised slogans in favor of the daughter of the nation.

Addressing the rally, Pasban Karachi chapter president Shaikh Muhammad Shakil said the nation wants return of Aafia at all costs. He said it would improve the Pak-American relations and also better the US image in the Muslim world. He said it is being felt that like the CIA contractor Raymond Davis, Dr Shakil Afridi would also be handed over to the US. He said if the release of Dr Aafia was not secured the nation would not forgive the rulers, politicians and bureaucrats.

He said on the occasion of the visit to Pakistan of John Kerry the issue of Aafia release should be made part of the strategic dialogue. He said the suggestion of Pasban President Altaf Shakoor to hold a referendum on Aafia swap with Arfidi is a workable idea. He said if the government implements it, it would prove that the rulers want the Aafia freedom at all costs. He said no doubt Shakil Afridi is a traitor, but it is being apprehended that like Raymond Davis America would secure his custody anyway. He said it is being felt that John Kerry would succeed to get Afridi released and repatriated and a golden chance to secure Aafia release would be missed.

He warned if this happened the rulers would not stay in the corridors of power for long and like Egypt the situation would go out of control. He said the Pakistani rulers in past had not succeeded in stopping drone attacks or punishing Raymond Davis. He said for last 10 years Aafia has been braving all sorts of atrocities in prison and her family is undergoing severe agony. He said Dr Aafia is an educated daughter of the nation and if we have to swap 10 people like Afridi it would not be a bad bargain. 

He said our leaders have to acknowledge the sentiments of the nation on the issue of Aafia, keeping in mind the ground realities. He demanded that all hurdles in way of swift release of Aafia should be removed and the proposed treaties for the Aafia release should be tabled in parliament urgently so that the nation could get an Eid gift in shape of Aafia release.

Abdullah Sheri, Tahir Azeem, Aijaz Baloch, Deen Muhammad, Ameen Shah, Maulana Ghafoor and Mir Bahadur were also present.

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