Pakistani activists of the hard-line party Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) carry photographs of Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui as they shout slogans while they march toward the US embassy during an anti-US protest in Islamabad. – AFP Photo/File
Pakistani activists of the hard-line party Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) carry photographs of Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui as they shout slogans while they march toward the US embassy during an anti-US protest in Islamabad. – AFP Photo/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan government is set to bring Dr Aafia Siddiqui back home from a US prison as the interior ministry Tuesday dispatched a summary to the cabinet division seeking approval of the federal cabinet scheduled to meet on Wednesday.

The federal cabinet meeting under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is likely to approve the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons among many agenda items including amendments in Service Tribunal ACT, 1973, Amendment in the federal employees benevolent fund and group insurance act, 1969.

The sixteen point agenda of the Wednesday’s meeting, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, revealed the cabinet is set to take up the issue of bringing Dr Siddiqui back home.

“Approval for signing the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and attaining accession to this convention, request to the US government for repatriation of Ms Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan,” reads the cabinet agenda.

The United States has bilateral treaties with Bolivia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Thailand, and Turkey, and is a party to two multilateral conventions, the Council of Europe (COE) Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, and Inter American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad.

Similarly, applications for prisoners seeking transfer to/from Canada, France, Panama, and Turkey are normally processed under the COE Convention. The United States also has prisoner transfer agreements with the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.

Dr Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in prison in 2010 after she was convicted of grabbing a US soldier’s assault rifle and trying to shoot a group of FBI agents and soldiers at an Afghan police compound in July 2008.

She denied the charge against her during the trial. However, the US officials suggested that she was an al Qaeda agent, a claim her family and many in Pakistan believe was just a cover-up.

She is being held at the notorious Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Carswell, Texas, where she is kept in the Special Housing Unit (SHU), which is the most severe confinement category.

Her release has become one of the top national issues in Pakistan. There have been numerous protests not only in Pakistan but many other countries for her release.

Former premier Raja Pervez Ashraf had constituted a four-member committee headed by then foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar to look into the case of Dr Siddiqui. However, the committee failed to make desired progress for her repatriation.


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Comments (11) Closed


Gerry D'Cunha
Aug 27, 2013 10:55pm

In my opinion, dr aafia should be released by the american authority on humanitarian grounds - to hold a daughter;mother;sister from her loved ones is not right - what would the americans gain by holding her in prison?she has already suffered a lot and her family

Muhammad Ajmal Khan
Aug 27, 2013 11:50pm

Doctor Aaafia's repatriation is a test case for this new Government of Mr. Nawaz Sharif. I am sure he knows what it feels to be behind the bars and to be deprived of all human rights, particularly when one is innocent of the charges leveled against the individual. Her transportation to Afghanistan, her detention in the infamous incarceration facilities there, all speak against our agencies who failed to protect her as a Pakistani National. She has faced a very difficult internment that would have daunted a trained commando of any army in the world. She is a Muslim, a woman, a Pakistani and above all a human being. Everything qualifies her for a suitable action to get her out of FMC. She must be brought back to Pakistan sooner than any later. The truth about her ill treatment and innocence may only be revealed decades later or perhaps never, as is the fashion of this wonderful world, but her present reality is more important and it must wake up every human conscience alive, Pakistani or otherwise.

Saqib
Aug 28, 2013 12:57am

WHY ? do we have nothing better to do than to bring home a convicted woman with proven and known ties to terrorists ? wah Naway Sharif .. good way to please your religious fundoos .. continue using religion to shine your politics till u run this country to the ground.

Zobia Khan
Aug 28, 2013 01:35am

Does anyone care that she is married to Ammar-al Baluchi, who is the nephew of Khalid Omar Sheikh and a cousin to Ramzi Yousuf. This is as Al-Qaida as you can get. Her children are from her first husband, Amjad, who has never asked for custody. He didn't want anything to do with her.

Do we really want to have one more terrorist in our country? What value does she bring to us?

Saeed
Aug 28, 2013 03:01am

I saw jamat islami flag not pakistan flag in photo. So how come they say Pakistani want her back. And I am Pakistani ,I don't want her . She is American let them deal with her.

Ragu
Aug 28, 2013 04:29am

What was a Pakistani citizen doing in Afghan police camp? The FBI is in Afganisthan, since even after repeated request to arrest the suspects who planned the death of 3000 people in New York, Taliban government has refused to cooperate.

Kulak
Aug 28, 2013 06:53am

Its 4 years now and our nation's daughter is rotting in a faraway jail and I am thinking of today's Muslim as compare to some centuries ago when Mohammad bin Qasim with a small contingent from Hijaz (he was only 12 years old) as a Muslim commander, traveled through harsh deserts with very little water and food when our Muslim sisters cried for help when their cariven was looted in Sindh (now in Pakistan) he not even freed them but was a cause of spreading of Islam in Indian sub continent. shame on all of us who are doing nothing for her release and giving away the murderers of our Nationals without any condition. At Least we should have bargain for her release, don't you think so?

pakiboy
Aug 28, 2013 07:27am

we pakistanis dont have any concern with a US citizen in US prison .. who was smuggler for terrorists ..

Zia
Aug 28, 2013 07:49am

What she was doing in Afghanistan!!!!! Jamat-i-Islami is al-Qaeda arm - so be careful Pakistanis. She is a US citizen - ignorance breeds ignorance in Pakistan!!!

Ali
Aug 28, 2013 10:40am

"However, the committee failed to make desired progress for her repatriation."

Has any committee ever completed the assigned task and delivered the result?

Boko
Aug 28, 2013 08:14pm

@Gerry D'Cunha: You can generalize for every Pakistani or foreign terrorist convicted and in prison in USA. A blue print to release all terrorists from US detention.