ISLAMABAD    -  The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday directed joint secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs to appear before the court in person in a petition filed for the release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui from the US prison.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq conducted the hearing of the petition filed by Aafia’s sister Dr Fauzia Siddiqui through her counsel Sajid Qureshi Advocate and nominated federation of Pakistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Interior Ministry as respondents. 

Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist, is serving an 86-year prison sentence in the US for attacking American soldiers in Afghanistan. 

During the hearing, Deputy Attorney General Raja Khalid Mehmood presented a report of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this matter. 

However, Justice Aamer termed the foreign ministry’s report on Dr Aafia Siddiqui as ‘unsatisfactory’ and summoned an officer of the foreign secretary or joint secretary level on the next hearing. 

The IHC bench asked from the DAG that what documentary evidences the Government of Pakistan had provided regarding the case. He observed that what value a report holds without documentary evidence. 

Fauzia Siddiqui’s counsel said that the state has a responsibility to protect its citizens. He claimed that Aafia Siddiqui was abducted and there has been no update whether she was still alive or not. 

The deputy attorney general informed the court that Pakistani consulate in the United States looks after the case. 

Justice Aamer remarked that you have not even filed the report properly. We will not deal with this case based on your statements. The case was fixed for hearing four years later and even today a proper report has not been filed. The Foreign Office is not serious about this matter. 

Then the IHC bench directed the federal government to submit a progress report in this regard and maintained that it is the responsibility of the state to protect every citizen. Later, the court deferred the hearing till February 10 for further proceedings in this matter.