‘Terrible condition’: Dr Fowzia ‘could not recognise’ Dr Aafia during prison meet


ISLAMABAD, JUN 12: Dr Fowzia Siddiqui has said that due to the condition of her sister, Incar­cerated Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, she could not recognise her during their first meeting in 20 years at a prison hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, US.

Dr Fowzia, along with Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) Senator Mushtaq and human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, was in the United States after they were finally allowed to meet Dr Aafia.

Upon her return to Pakistan, the doctor told journalists at Karachi airport that this government helped her meet her sister even though the previous governments were capable of doing so.

“Prime minister and foreign minister helped in my meeting with Aafia,” she said.

Shedding light on her meeting with her sister, she said: “I could not even imagine that Dr Aafia would have been in such a terrible situation.”

“Due to her condition, I could not even recognise her.”

Dr Fowzia mentioned that if the government tries, it would be extremely easy to repatriate Dr Aafia. She mentioned that her next meeting with her sister is in July.

The incarcerated doctor held around three meetings with her sister and met JI’s Senator Mushtaq and the human rights lawyer.

None of them, however, could meet her physically as they were separated by transparent glass and were allowed to talk through phones.

Meanwhile, the JI Sunday arranged a big rally to receive their party leader Mushtaq upon returning from the US after meeting with Dr Aafia.

A vehicular procession was arranged from Motorway Toll Plaza to Hashtnagri Chowk, where a public gathering was arranged. The rally was addressed by Mushtaq, district president of the party Bahrullah Khan and others.

Dr Fowzia was also supposed to participate in the rally. But she could not make it due to the non-availability of the flight. She, however, addressed the gathering by telephone.

Speaking on the occasion, Mushtaq urged the nation to raise a voice for the release of Dr Aafia so that the government could take steps for her release.

He said that the award of 86 years imprisonment and police torture over Dr Aafia spoke volumes of the human rights violations at the hands of the so-called champions of human rights.

He criticised the rulers for handing over the daughter of the nation to the US in return for a few thousand dollars.

He said that the political parties in opposition never tired of raising their voices for the release of Dr Aafia. But when they come into power, they keep mum over the issue, he added.

Dr Aafia — a brief profile
A US-educated Pakistani scientist, Dr Aafia Siddiqui was jailed in 2010 for 86 years by a New York federal district court in September 2008 on charges of attempted murder and assault, stemming from an incident during an interview with the US authorities in Ghazni, Afghanistan — charges that she denied.

She was the first woman to be suspected of Al-Qaeda links by the US, but never convicted of it.

At 18 years old Siddiqui travelled to the US, where her brother lived, to study at Boston’s prestigious MIT, later earning a PhD in neuroscience at Brandeis University.

But after the 9/11 terror attacks of 2001, she came up on the FBI’s radar for donations to Islamic organisations and was linked to the purchase of $10,000 worth of night-vision goggles and books on warfare.

The US suspected she joined Al-Qaeda from America, returning to Pakistan where she married into the family of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — an architect of the 9/11 attacks.

She disappeared in around 2003, along with her three children, in Karachi.

Five years later she turned up in Pakistan’s war-torn neighbour Afghanistan, where she was arrested by local forces in the restive southeastern province of Ghazni.