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Dr. Aafia Siddiqui speaks out

By Khurram Ali Shafique also managing About Aafia Blog

At last a word has come out from Dr. Aafia Siddiqui herself about her travails. On Tuesday, October 6, four Pakistani senators met her in Texas but unfortunately their account has not been properly covered in many news reports. One exception is Daily Times, whose correspondent Khalid Hasan has given a remarkably detailed account of what Aafia told the senators in a meeting which lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes.

ACCORDING TO HER:

  1. She was on her way to the Karachi airport in 2003 with her children when she was taken. She remembers being given an injection and when she came to she was in a cell.
  2. She was being brainwashed by men who spoke perfect English. They could be Afghan or others. She did not think they were Pakistanis.
  3. She was being forced to admit things she had allegedly done. She was made to sign statements, some of which included information on phone calls she was said to have made.
  4. She has been tortured (but she provided no details).
  5. She was told by her captors that if she did not co-operate, her children would suffer (two of them are still missing).
  6. She said she did not know where her children were and it was not clear if they had been with her during her captivity.
  7. The assault case against her has no basis in fact.
  8. She expressed her lack of confidence in the court hearing her case and the US legal system.
  9. She said she didn’t trust the two lawyers who are representing her.


Aafia’s version is not basically different from what the human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Asian Human Rights Commission have been suspecting for long (and it is not just Aafia’s “family” or her “lawyers” who have been raising these allegations, although some news report attempt to give that impression). The importance of this meeting cannot be exagerrated because now, finally, Aafia has narrated her side of the story in her own words, however incoherent she might have been due to the stress she has gone through. The world has been wanting to hear her side of the story.

The most alarming part is the distrust she has shown about the two lawyers representing her case. In my opinion the issue needs immediate attention and questions need to be raised about how the case is being handled. Eyebrows were raised when her lawyers didn’t seek bail for her on August 11.

Also, the controversy about her mental instability. On two occasions when Pakistani representatives met her (August 9 and October 6), they reported that she was articulate and okay. Yet her own lawyers Elizabeth Fink and Elaine Whitfield Sharp as well as the US Attorney Michael Garcia have unanimously established a perception that she needs psychiatric evaluation, and their position has eventually led to her transfer to Texas.

Perhaps it will be remembered that Judicial Activism Panel (Pakistan) demanded as early as August 12 that the Pakistani government should allow a panel of Pakistani lawyers to visit the US to fight her case in the American court.

The issue here is more than just one case. By exploring this case with some responsibility, a lot of related issues about international law and justice can be brought to the front. I think it’s important and let’s focus our attention on what can be done in this regard, and soon. Already, more than two months have elapsed since the issue was brought to the US court on August 6.


17 Comments

  • Lady M.B.B.S. |

    I dont know much about this case but
    I think she is quiet normal,her memory is intact,her intelligence is intact.

    According to my information, they said that she is having Hallucinations_that her daughter is with her in the cell.

    SUCH Hallucinations can be Normal as a part of Grieving process and are not associated with any serious mental illness or any organic brain disease.

    The question is that why she needs psychiatric evaluation and for What Actually?

  • yaseen ch |

    zardari tuje kasam hai BB ki
    pukarti hai beti aik watan ki

    ghairo ko bech diya jise aik foji kutte ne
    ghairat hai woh iss watan ki

  • lala |

    why do v call her pakistani….she is no more pakistani… casue she got american citizenship….when she herself saying she is American,,,then y the hell v owning her as pakistani….she is an American so let her fate decided by USA…en this is to all those pakistani who changed their nationality r no more loyal to our country must not deserve any sympathy…..

  • lala11 |

    why do v call her pakistani….she is no more pakistani… casue she got american citizenship….when she herself saying she is American,,,then y the hell v owning her as pakistani….she is an American so let her fate decided by USA…en this is to all those pakistani who changed their nationality r no more loyal to our country must not deserve any sympathy…..

  • zafar |

    lala,

    You want to dilute all the emotions, don’t you? Nice try…

  • confused! |

    lala11–
    Where did you learn from that she is American citizen?
    It has been repeated many times that she is not. What do you know that no one else does?

  • Lady M.B.B.S. |

    @lala

    She is a human being afterall and above all,a MUSLIM.

    Such kind of behaviour is the rootcause of all the problems that we as a Muslim are facing these days.

    “United We Stand,Divided We Fall”

  • Lady M.B.B.S. |

    @lala

    what kind of name you have ‘Lala’
    First i took it laila then LALA,a pushto word used for elder brother:)

    And i guess you are Neither a muslim nor a Pakistani.

  • akk-pakistani |

    y isn’t anyone asking about her children. everyone is talking about everything else but not of her kids. what about her little daughter? Everything is so fishy, why do we not have any statements from DOC Afia herself. We have no updates on her health status, b/c from what I know she was shot in the abdomen, and had like 30 stitches and her wound was infected. how is she doing now? why isn’t her family in US trying to find out about her kids. Also where is her husband? is he in Guantanamo’s bay? Its all so disturbing? How is all this possible? and now that i read this article, i find out that she never had her kids with her from the start, then who has her kids.