PADF Seminar Addresses Dr. Aafia Case

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui could be back in Pakistan in 2 days,” US Senator Gravel

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Jan 30, 2013

The second part of the teach-in was focused on Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s plight,

The former US Senator Mike Gravel suggested that the American Muslim civil advocacy groups should approach the nominated Defense Secretary Chuck Hegel and Secretary of State John Kerry to secure release of Dr. Aafia who is serving 86-year imprisonment for her alleged attempt to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan.

Senator Gravel said that the American Muslim groups should begin a intensive efforts for Dr. Aafia’s release. He suggested that to put pressure on the US administration the Muslim groups should pass resolutions in this regard to be sent to Hegel and Kerry. He will draft a sample resolution to be sent to the Muslim groups for their approval.

The former Senator lamented that not enough pressure is built in Pakistan to compel the government to secure Dr. Aafia’s release. He said that it was the government of Pakistan which is reluctant to approach the US administration.

He said that the Tehrik-e-Insaaf leader Imran Khan has pledged to work for Dr. Aafia’s release if his party comes to power in the forthcoming elections. However, he did not make Dr. Aafia an issue in his election campaign.

Senator Gravel suggested that the former Foreign Minister of Pakistan Khurshid Kasuri should also be approached since he acknowledged that he is responsible for handing over Dr. Aafia to the US. “I’m so sorry for handing over the innocent Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to the Americans. It was my biggest mistake ever! ” Khurshid Kasuri said in a twitter message in January 2012.

While visiting Pakistan last year, Mark Gravel said that he have never saw such a case in his career like Dr. Aafia Siddiqui who is innocent Pakistan citizen facing physical and mental torture from last 10 years in America.

Both the Government of Pakistan and United States were responsible of Dr. Aafia case, he said adding that if the Pakistani Government takes serious and practical steps, Dr. Aafia can be “back in 2 days”.

Talking to media before leaving Pakistan for the US, Senator Gravel urged the Pakistani leadership to take action for the release of Dr Aafia. He stressed that Dr Aafia was a Pakistani citizen and that the US government’s rendition of Dr Aafia from Afghanistan to the US is illegal under international law.

“Dr Siddiqui is not a US citizen, so the US government should not be left to determine her fate, she should be returned to Pakistan so that she can begin to recover from the horrible torture and abuse that she has suffered,” said Senator Gravel.

Another participant of the PADF meeting was the former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney who also visited Pakistan last year. Tellingly she was detained briefly at Atlanta airport while entering the United States on her return from the visit to Pakistan where she campaigned for the release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.

Addressing a Press Conference in the Islamabad, Cynthia McKinney said “I am here for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. When I first learned of her situation I decided to do all that I could do to reverse the injustice to this poor innocent woman. The United States has more to give Pakistan than drones, bombs and missiles. The United States can give Aafia back. The Pakistan Leadership just has to ask.”

Pakistan American Democratic Forum, PADF, was the main initiator of American human right activists’ visit to Pakistan.


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