We must not forget the three other victims in this case: Aafia’s minor children.
The first is Ahmad Siddiqui, 11-year-old, and the anomalies in his case raise suspicions of a three-step approach to cover up brainwashing in captivity. First, deny having any “definitive knowledge” of the captive’s whereabouts. Second, admit that he was in detention even at the time of those denials. Third, send him home in mentally unstable state where he cannot recall details about captivity.
There is a stark analogy between his fate and the contradictory reports now coming out about her mother: is she at now, undergoing brainwashing?
By the authorities’ own admission Ahmad’s detention at least from July 17 to August 22 was irregular: it was covered up despite urgent appeals from around the world.
The other two children of Afia are still missing. If they are still alive then it is possible that they are being used as hostages to pressurize her.
Aafia’s daughter Mariam, 10 years old (5 at the time of her disappearance), and her youngest son Salman, 5 years old (six months at the time of his disappearance), remain missing. Authorities deny having “definitive knowledge” of their whereabouts too.
It may be remembered that capture of minor children and infants for pressurizing their parents was described by Pakistan’s former president Muharraf as fair tactic while participating in American War Against Terror.
On August 16, the US envoy to Pakistan made a public statement saying that the US had no “definitive knowledge” of the whereabouts of Aafia’s children but only a few days later the Afghan authorities revealed that an 11-year-old boy had also been “arrested” with Aafia and this boy was then repatriated to be received byAafia’s family as her eldest son.
Afia’s son finally repatriated by Afghan authorities cannot recall much and is having nightmares.
While in Bagram, Afia’s three children, two sons and a daughter (Ahmad, Suleman and Maryam) were taken away. She was told that her children would be returned only if she confessed to meetings with certain people. She agreed and feared that this forced confession could go against her in Pakistan. She also feared that her third child, a son by the name of Suleman, might have been killed.
Dr Aafia’s former husband, Amjad Khan, has suddenly reappeared from no where. In a detailed letter to the Daily Dawn, which the latter prominently displayed, he says that “as the father of three innocent children, I have been frustrated and anguished by what has taken place since my divorce from Dr Aafia Siddiqui in August 2002. I hesitated to come forward because I did not want anything I said to be used against the mother of my children. I am only speaking out now because I am desperately worried about my children’s safety.
In October 2002, Dr Aafia and I signed an agreement. I agreed that Aafia would retain custody of our three young children, Ahmed, Marium and Suleman. Aafia agreed to let me meet them and ensure their well-being. But Aafia did not uphold her side of the agreement. She did not let me meet my children or fulfil my obligation of financially supporting them. In June 2003, I filed a lawsuit for custody of the children. Based on past experience, I had reason to fear that Aafia might pursue her political ambitions to the detriment of our children’s welfare. It now seems that the truth may be worse than I could have imagined.
In the course of our lawsuit, Aafia’s mother, Ismat Siddiqui, testified in a sworn deposition in August 2003 that the FBI had informed her US lawyer that the children and their mother were safe with them. In US press reports, however, the lawyer, Elaine Sharp, said the FBI had told her exactly the opposite.
When my family and I inquired from the FBI, we were told that the US was still looking for Aafia and had no information about where the children were. Why did Aafia’s mother claim the FBI had told her lawyer they had the children when plainly the FBI hadn’t said anything of the sort?
My two oldest children are US citizens. If the Siddiquis had evidence that the US was holding our three innocent children prisoner, why didn’t they bring charges in the US against the relevant agencies?
I would like to know where my children were at that time. Who were these ‘captors’ of Aafia and why had they held my children?
More recently, Aafia’s lawyer in the US, Elizabeth Fink, has claimed that our youngest son Suleman died in ‘captivity’. Whose captivity and where? Who were the people who were depriving me and my children from seeing each other? As an anguished father, I appeal to Elizabeth Fink and anyone else, here in Pakistan or in any other country, to come forward with anything they know about what has happened to all three of my children since 2003.
If there is any evidence that the US or any other agencies held them captive or, God forbid, been responsible for their deaths, I would like to see those responsible brought to justice.
I was relieved to hear that Ahmad was located in Afghanistan last month, and was brought to Islamabad, although I have many unanswered questions about how an innocent 12-year-old boy ended up in a war zone. Since Aafia’s sister Dr Fowzia was actively influencing the officials concerned and was posing as the real guardian of Ahmad, she took custody of him. I decided not to interfere in this process because Ahmad’s arrival might have been delayed or jeopardised as a result of the dispute and that would not be in his best interest.
In a New York Times report, Afghan officials who had interviewed Ahmad in Afghanistan said that “the boy was smart, confident and courageous”. After his handing over to the Siddiquis, however, they claimed that Ahmad is mentally unfit and cannot talk to anyone. Their lawyer, E. Fink, at a recent court hearing also claimed that Ahmad was heavily medicated because he is seriously disturbed.
I would like to know what happened after Ahmad was handed over to the Siddiquis that made him so mentally unfit as to require psychiatric treatment.
Since Ahmed returned to Karachi, I have tried contacting the Siddiquis over the telephone to see and meet him, but they refused to talk. I then went over to their house but was turned away from the gate. I sent a congratulatory letter to Aafia’s mother and sister requesting permission to visit and see Ahmad, but I did not get a reply.
Knowing the Siddiqui family’s intentions and attitude, I have no alternative left but to seek legal help for his custody. Why has Dr Fowzia been telling the media and government officials that my and my family’s whereabouts were not known, whereas in reality we had been frequently contacting her in connection with Ahmad. The government officials too did not bother to find out who the real and legal guardians of Ahmad were.
As of today, two of the children still need to be found. The truth does matter. If what the Siddiquis are saying is true, then whoever kidnapped Aafia and the children needs to be held responsible. I am still trying to locate and rescue my two younger children whose lives are in terrible jeopardy. I appeal to the nation to come forward and help in this regard before it is too late.”
In another development relating to Dr Siddiqui’s children, Police obtained the blood sample on April 5, 2010 of the unknown 11-year-old girl who was left outside the house of Dr Aafia Siddiqui in Gulshani Iqbal area of Karachi by some people the previous day. They also took the blood sample of Ahmed, the elder son of Dr Aafia.