Legal experts said on Saturday that Dr Aafia Siddiqui was the most wronged woman on the planet today. The remarks were made by legal experts at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club (KPC). The case of Aafia Siddiqui and her children in the final count is simply a human trafficking case but this is perhaps the first human trafficking case of the world in which the victim of the human trafficking is criminalised. The government of Pakistan should dedicate the International Women's Day 2017 to the brave Pakistani mother Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
Noted legal expert Justice (Retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed, addressing the press conference, said the findings of the judge and juries in the court trial that sentence Aafia 86-year jail were faulty. He said such court verdicts are circulated in whole world. He said the allegation leveled against Aafia was about a mishap that reportedly took place in Afghanistan. He said it is against the basic principles of law to conduct the trial of a crime in the USA that originally took place in Afghanistan. He said had they ensured uphold of law, Aafia could have been tried in Afghanistan. He said the USA had no right and jurisdiction to conduct this trial on her soil.
He said a weak and frail woman like Aafia could not even carry the heavy gun mentioned in the allegation. He said even if she had lifted the gun no loss was incurred to anybody. He put forth the question why she was sentenced for 86 years. He said this very long sentence is equal to a death penalty. He said they wanted to keep Aafia detained till her death because they fear that she knows a lot about their dark conspiracies.
Noted UK lawyer Barrister Naseem Ahmed Bajwa said he represents the Aafia Release Committee chapters of UK, USA and European countries. He said the release of Aafia is not only the issue of Aafia’s family, Karachi, Sindh or Pakistan but it is a common issue of whole humanity.
He said that he wanted everyone in this room to imagine what they have done and achieved in the last 14 years - and now I want you to imagine if time had stood still for you during that same period.
Think of the children you would never have had, the careers you would have lost and the deaths of loved ones that would have passed you by, not being able to say a simple farewell or pay respects.
That is exactly what life has been like for Dr Aafia Siddiqui whose life has been trapped in an unjust limbo for the past 14 years since she disappeared from the streets of Karachi.
Barrister Bajwa said Aafia Siddiqui is the most wronged woman on the planet today. He added, “I as a lawyer have seen many cases of injustice but absolutely nothing on this scale. She should never, along with her three children, have been lifted from the streets of Karachi in a joint Pakistan/US operation. While most of the 800 men from Guantanamo have been released there has been no such end to the nightmare for Dr Aafia.”
Aafia’s ordeal began with her disappearance and continued after she had been shot then put before an American court on charges arising from an alleged incident in another country, namely Afghanistan.
The legal expert said her trial in New York should never have gone ahead because Aafia was not formally extradited to the US therefore it had no legal basis and was in the wrong jurisdiction. The alleged crime she committed did not happen in the US and expert evidence given by prison psychologists said she was not mentally fit to stand trial. Despite all of this the trial went ahead with a so-called dream team of lawyers who were asking for 12 years for their client. If you thought the law was skewed in America then it seems many of their lawyers are prepared to go along with the system.
He said the other problem is most of her legal team suffered from the same blinkered view of the jury - they simply could not believe that US intelligence would kidnap, rendition and torture a mother and her three children, two of whom are US citizens. But recent history has taught us this is the case.
According to the British journalist Yvonne Ridley, who has been involved in some hostage negotiations and releases in recent years, the US does not regard Aafia as a prized asset or prisoner of great value. This is good news as it sounds as though the Americans would be willing to repatriate her. However, the truth is not one single Pakistan politician, government minister or prime minister has, over the years, officially asked for her release. This is astonishing but true. “The block to free the daughter of the nation isn't in America - it is here in Pakistan.”
However, Aafia Movement Pakistan head and noted neuro-physician of Pakistan Dr Fowzia Siddiqui said now the whole world knows that Aafia is innocent, adding it is also not a mystery that who the real culprits are behind her kidnapping, trafficking and illegal detention, but sadly they are all bent to continue injustice in the name of justice.
She said they have come to know through sources that she is critically ill. They are doing inhuman mental experiments on her and her brain is being made numb. She said when all this is known to our government why it is still silent.
JI Naib Amir Asadullah Bhutto said that the US administration managed to get their ‘terrorist’ Raymond Davis freed from Pakistan, but the Pakistan government has so far failed to secure the release of its innocent female citizen. He said the Pakistani politicians take one stance when they are in opposition but suddenly take a U-turn when they are in government. He said these politicians after coming into power opt to slavery instead of bravery.
Pasban e Pakistan President Altaf Shakoor said the politicians have failed to show maturity on the issue of Aafia Siddiqui. He said it is just sad that the government and opposition in Pakistan on not on one page on this issue. He asked the government of Pakistan to file a case against the US administration in the International Court of Justice because they had kidnapped a Pakistani female doctor and her children from Karachi, trafficked them to Afghanistan and illegally tried her in the USA.
He also demanded from the government of Pakistan to dedicate the International Women's Day 2017 in Pakistan to Dr Aafia Siddiqui.