Aafia’s Sister Speaks to the Press
On August 5, Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, younger sister of Dr Aafia Siddiqui who is in US custody, dismissed as a pack of lies FBI’s claim of having found Dr Aafia possessing documents about preparing chemical weapons. Addressing a press conference in Karachi, Dr Fauzia called upon the government and all political and religious parties to rise and stop persecution of Dr Aafia and try to get her and her children released and brought back home because they did not expect justice in a US court. She distributed among journalists copies of the “charge-sheet” against Dr Aafia presented to a US magistrate judge in New York.
Dr Fauzia said that her sister had been tortured for five years until the day the US authorities announced that they had found her in Afghanistan. This showed how they had abused their authority and tortured an innocent woman. “The FBI on July 31 and August 1 confirmed that Aafia is injured and alive and is in custody in Afghanistan” and now it has been stated that she has been shifted to the US.
Dr Fauzia pointed out that an FBI agent had told the US court in an affidavit that Afghan police officers of Ghazni province had found Aafia along with a teenage boy outside the Ghazni governor’s compound. She said it was a joke because a woman who had disappeared while on way to the airport in Karachi to take a flight for Rawalpindi in March 2003 had been found five years later in Ghazni.
Demanding information about her three children, she said that her relatives in the US who wanted to fight her case were being denied access to her.
Dr Fauzia also said that Aafia was not a neurobiologist, but had specialised in helping mentally retarded children to improve their memory.
Answering a question, she said that she and her relatives had met the relevant authorities in Pakistan soon after Aafia’s abduction and they promised that she would be released soon, but all of it turned out to be farce.
She also said that members of her family had been receiving anonymous calls threatening them of consequences if they spoke about Aafia.
Why was she charged with possessing documents about chemical weapons now and why was she not tried five years ago when she had been abducted?, she asked.
On December 30, 2003 Dr. Fawzia Siddiqui, Dr. Afia’s elder sister met with Mr Faisal Saleh Hayat at Islamabad with Mr Ejazul Haq, MNA, regarding the whereabouts of Dr. Afiai. Mr Faisal told Dr. Fawzia and Mr Ejazul Haq that according to his information Dr. Afia Siddiqui had already been released and that she (Dr. Fawzia) should go home and wait for a phone call from her sister.
Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s Sister Meets Holbrooke
Dr Fauzia Siddiqui met PM Gilani and visiting US envoy Richard Holbrooke separately on Feb 10 in Islamabad. Fauzia met PM Gilani at Prime Minister House and appealed for the early release of her sister detained in America on the charges of assault on FBI officials. She informed the PM that Dr Afia was in worst health state and urged the government to use all its sources for her release. She also called on to US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, who is on his special visit to Pakistan. In the meeting Dr. Fauzia urged him to take effective measures for Dr Afia’s repatriation as early as possible. Meanwhile, she refused to talk with newsmen following the meeting.