ISLAMABAD-The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thursday submitted its reply before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) 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 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 appeared before the court and informed the court that detailed response of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this matter has been submitted to the court. 

At this, Fouzia Siddiqui’s counsel sought some time to present his arguments over the reply submitted by ministry. 

Accepting his request, the IHC bench granted two-week time and deferred the proceedings.  

Earlier, Dr Fauzia said in a statement submitted before the IHC, “It seems apparent that though I am told Dr Aafia is the daughter of the nation, she is our sister, daughter, mother, etc., no one in the power corridor cares; just echoing empty slogans and fancy words. The government claims to listen but does not hear.”

She added, “I want to clarify one point, I did not come to this court to ask for justice. Because that is no longer possible for Aafia.  Justice in this case would require the clock to be turned back and return to a mother the lost childhood of her children and the life of the infant that was taken from her. That justice can now only come from Almighty Allah, in the Day of Judgment when all things will be corrected.” 

Fauzia adopted, “I thought this honorable court would take a position to compel the government of Pakistan to share with me the so called efforts they are making and facilitate and reinstate communication with Aafia, in a time when fear and uncertainty is prevailing and her life is in immediate danger. 

This also is a great time to achieve repatriation for Aafia. Under the corona crisis, prisoners are being transferred worldwide and this was a chance for the federation to show it cared with sincerity. The many avenues of negotiation and exchanges are well known to the government and have been submitted to this court as well in compliance to the order dated 14-03-2016 but the government has ignored it.” 

She continued that as for Aafia refusing to sign the mercy petition, she has already signed it and acceded to it. If the Foreign Office would please share Ayesha Farooqi full counselor visit reports and full Abrar Hashmi reports, a copy of the signed form should be with them including an appeal to PM Imran Khan.  

In 2010, a US federal court in Manhattan had sentenced Dr Aafia Siddiqui to 86 years imprisonment for the attempted murder of US military personnel in Afghanistan. 

She is serving her sentence at the Federal Medical Centre, Carswell, Fort Worth in Texas. 

Aafia Siddiqui studied at Boston’s prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and did a PhD in neuroscience at Brandeis University. In early 2003, during the Afghanistan war, she came back to Pakistan. In March 2003, she was reportedly named as a courier and financier for Al-Qaeda by Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and was placed on a “wanted for questioning” list by the American FBI. 

According to the US court papers, she was carrying two kilos of sodium cyanide hidden in moisturiser bottles, along with plans for chemical weapons and New York’s Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building. 

The Afghans handed her to the US forces who began questioning her. During her interrogation she grabbed a rifle and opened fire, according to witnesses, at US agents while screaming “Death to America” and “I want to kill Americans.” From Afghanistan, Siddiqui was put on trial in the US and sentenced in 2010 to 86 years for attempted murder — and not for any Al Qaeda links.