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Monday, July 15, 2024  
08 Muharram 1446  

Aafia Siddiqui meets sister after 20 years

Fauzia Siddiqui has tirelessly campaigned for her to be brought back to Pakistan

Fauzia Siddiqui has finally met her sister Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who is incarcerated in United States prison after 20 years.

She was accompanied by Clive Stafford Smith, a human rights lawyer who recently helped bring home two Pakistanis from Guantanamo Bay. Smith has already met Dr Siddiqui in prison once.

The sisters were allowed to see each other across a glass window and no physical contact was allowed. JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmed was also present during the meeting.

In a tweet the JI senator sharing details of the meeting wrote that listen to the sad story of Dr. Fawzia’s meeting today (Wednesday). Although the situation is alarming, the discussion of the meetings has opened up. Now it is necessary for the people to raise their voices and force the rulers to take immediate measures and take up the issue of Aafia’s release with the American government.

He said that this meeting took place after 20 years and continued for two and a half hours. Dr. Fauzia was not allowed to hug or shake hands with Aafia. She was wearing a white scarf and mustard prison dress. Dr. Fauzia was not even allowed to show pictures of Aafia’s children. Moreover, Dr Aafia told the details of the torture she was subjected to daily. It was very difficult to hear.

Aafia Siddiqui ‘disappeared’ in 2003 and was later revealed to be in US custody. Her sister has campaigned for government efforts for her to be brought back for years.

Who is Dr Aafia Siddiqui?

Siddiqui is a graduate of MIT in cognitive neuroscience and she belonged to a middle-class family who has strong faith in Islam and education, according to a report of The Guardian.

The report further said during her stay in the United States she campaigned for Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya, especially against the killing of pregnant women. It read: “She wrote emails, held fundraisers and made forceful speeches at local mosque during the stay.”

The controversy against the Pakistani neuroscientist surfaced after 9/11 when the FBI questioned her and her husband, Amjad Khan, a young Karachi doctor, in May 2002 about an unusual purchase of $10,000.

She returned back to the US in 2002 after the couple divorced and stayed there for 10 days. Later she married Ammar al-Baluchi, a nephew of the 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in Karachi.

Siddiqui vanished in 2003 after FBI issued a global alert for her and Khan. According to The Guardian, the reports confirmed that she was picked by the Pakistani intelligence agency at the “behest of the CIA”. Meanwhile, Khan was interviewed by the Pakistani FBI and released him.

The US government had said that Siddiqui was arrested from Afghanistan after she fired upon a team of US soldiers. However, Amnesty International has maintained that she was arrested from Afghanistan.

Later American media reports confirmed that her name was given by Mohammad, the 9/11 instigator, under duress. According to the US government, Siddiqui was at large, plotting mayhem on behalf of Osama bin Laden.

In May 2004 the then US attorney general, listed her among the seven “most wanted” al-Qaida fugitives.

He described Siddiqui as a terrorist “facilitator” who was willing to use her education against America, read the report. However, the neuroscientist’s family narrates a different story, saying Siddiqui spent the missing five years at Bagram detention centre in Kabul, where she suffered “unspeakable horrors”.

In 2008, a New York federal district court indicted Siddiqui on charges of attempted murder and assault, during an investigation with the US authorities in Ghazni, a city of Afghanistan. She denied the charges but was later sentenced to 86 years in prison.

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