Govt shying away from pressing Americans for Aafia release: FowziaMarch 12, 2014
Peshawar: The government of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif like the past regime of Asif Zardari is shying away from pressing the administration of United States of America on the serious human rights issue of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, said Aafia Movement Pakistan leader Dr Fowzia Siddiqui, addressing a crowded press conference at Peshawar Press Club here on Tuesday.
She said the government had agreed to sign the Convention of Council of Europe over Prisoners for transfer of Aafia Siddiqui sand we waited for progress in this regard; however, in January 2014 the Council closed the case. She said on previous day they visited the Senate and met with Senators Baligh Ur Rehman, Mushahid Ullah Khan and Talha Mehmood. They all regretted the delay in repatriation of the daughter of the nation. MNA Rida Khan also termed the case of Aafia a challenge for women MNAs of National Assembly of Pakistan.
Dr Fowzia said the sitting government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had got votes on the slogan of Aafia release, but after coming in power it betrayed the cause of Aafia. She said the Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak and Speaker KPK assembly Asad Qaiser had also pledged support on the Aafia issue, but still no resolution is tabled in the KpK assembly. She said it seemed the federal and provincial governments are two faced of same coin and they lack courage to speak on the Aafia issue. She said the Aafia issue is exposing our hypocoristic politicians. She said if the rulers are not sincere with the daughter of the nation, whey could not be sincere with anyone.
The betrayal with Aafia is a betrayal with whole Pakistani nation. She said when the rulers do not take firm stand on the national issues like the imprisonment of Aafia; it spreads disappointment in nation and strengthens the forces that violate the sanctity and sovereignty of Pakistan with terrorism and drone attacks. She said had the government followed the tradition of Muhammad bin Qasim to save the honor of its daughters, the nation would not have to brave bomb blasts and drone attacks.
Aafia Movement leader saluted the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province for their courage and bravery to oppose the CIA drone attacks, bomb blasts of terrorists. She said despite braving the worst bloodletting the proud people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are determined to defeat terrorism and they also fully support the cause of their innocent sister Aafia Siddiqui.
She said that different prime ministers including the sitting one have declared Aafia as their sister, but they all have failed walk their talk and did nothing for their release of their sister. Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif declared that Aafia is like her daughter Mariam and he claimed she would be released with 100 days. However, all these promises so far have proved a deception and farce with the Pakistani nation. She said the weakness of Pakistani government on the Aaifa issue is giving more courage to drone attackers. She asked why the rulers are not ready to listen to the cried of Pakistani people for the release of Aafia.
She said had Rahman Baba and Khushhal Khan Khattat alive they would have felt the pain of Aafia and mentioned her plights in their poetry to shake the conscience of humanity. She said now the Aafia Movement is spreading on global level; however, the proud people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are the vanguards of this movement.
Speaking on the occasion, noted human rights activist and director of The Peace Thru Justice Foundation Mauri’ Saalakhan said Aafia case is the worst miscarriage of justice. He said almost all of the several terror suspects arrested in America after the 9/11 were trapped by “provocateurs” employed by FBI and other US agencies. They were emotionally exploited by anti-US propaganda, mostly based on photographs and videos of Iraq and Afghanistan showing US soldiers’ excesses against unarmed civilians and prisoners. He said their reactionary statements were used as proofs of their “desire” to wage war against America and its people. He said these suspects have been denied fair trials and were facing sentences worse than convicted murderers.
Regretting the injustice meted out to the Pakistani mother, Saalakhan termed the Aafia case as one of the worst miscarriages of justice in the history of United States of America. He said it was the fact that not one terrorism charge was included in the criminal indictment against her. The federal Judge Richard Berman, who presided over her trial in New York, granted the prosecution practically everything it wanted—most significantly, a ban on any testimony that would shed light on the missing five years of her secret imprisonment.
He said that her short trial, which began in February 2010, featured blatant inconsistencies in the testimonies of the government’s star witnesses, and material evidence that clearly favored the defendant. Despite this, however, Aafia was found guilty on all seven counts of the indictment and was unjustly sentenced to 86 years of imprisonment, he deplored. The government’s argument at sentencing revolved around Aafia’s alleged hatred toward and desire to kill Americans, a charge similar in all such “terrorism” related cases through which hundreds of innocent individuals have been targeted during more than last one decade.
He said then detention of Aafia, the cases of missing persons and killings of innocent civilians in the drone attacks are blemishes on the face of humanity. He said the drone killings are extrajudicial killings which should be condemned by all people. He saluted the people of KpK who have endured so much bloodletting, deaths and destruction.