Friday, October 17, 2008

Government asked to expedite efforts for Aafia’s release

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday directed the government to expedite efforts for the early release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui from US custody. The court adjourned proceedings for three weeks. The IHC issued the directions while hearing a petition filed by Barrister Javed Iqbal Jafferi against the alleged illegal detention of Siddiqui.

Reply filed: After appearing in chamber on notice, Foreign Affairs Ministry US Desk Director Mansoor Ahmad Khan told reporters the ministry had filed a reply on the developments in the case. Deputy Attorney General Shahid Iqbal Qureshi told the court that the chief justice had also directed the government to recover Siddiqui’s two missing children as early as possible. He said the Pakistan embassy in Washington was making efforts to ensure Siddiqui got a fair trial in US, besides seeking urgent medical treatment for her, adding that the embassy was working with the US Justice Department and other US authorities to ensure that her rights were protected. Qureshi rejected allegations levelled by the petitioner that the government was not serious in bringing Siddiqui back to Pakistan.

“Since Dr Aafia was not arrested from Pakistani soil, Pakistani laws are not applicable to her,” he said. Later, Jafferi told reporters Siddiqui could be brought back to Pakistan under the Pakistan-US Friendship Treaty signed in 1959.

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