Dawn News

Yet more questions

A US appeals court has upheld the September 2010 verdict that sentenced Aafia Siddiqui to 86 years in prison. The severity of her sentence raises yet another question in a case already riddled with them: what is Ms Siddiqui really being held accountable for? Is life imprisonment justified for firing at a handful of FBI agents and soldiers, none of whom were killed or injured? These questions will only add to the air of murkiness that still surrounds the case. That Ms Siddiqui had links to radical Islamists is not really a matter of dispute. What remain problematic are the circumstances of her arrest, the nature of her crimes and the conduct of her trial. Where was Ms Siddiqui between 2003 and 2008? Was she in Pakistani or American custody? If so, is the story of her arrest in 2008 real? If she wanted to carry out a terrorist attack against America, and possessed plans to do so when captured, why was she only charged with the crime of firing a gun at American officials after her arrest?

The problem with all this uncertainty is that it creates the impression that US authorities are hiding something, which raises doubts about the fairness of Ms Siddiqui’s custody and trial. All of which only provides an excuse to Pakistani firebrands to turn her into a symbol of everything that is wrong with America and a reason for Pakistan not to cooperate with the US (despite the fact that the Pakistani government has not been particularly forthcoming about her whereabouts prior to 2008). After four years of unanswered questions and a sentence that seems out of proportion to the charges that have been framed, the Aafia case will continue to be a lightning rod for anti-American sentiment in Pakistan.

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Comments (7) Closed

Nov 08, 2012 10:49am
Naeem Alas! the confirmed killers like Raymond Devis are set free, whereas innocent people like Aafia siddiqui are being tortured and imprisoned for 86 years.what a pity! look at the charges levied against her, she had pointed the gun towards American Agents please compare the cases Raymond Devis American Citizen charges killed pakistani nationals and caught red handed but was set free Aafia Siddiqui Pakistani Citizen charges she pointed gun towards Americans,,,,,,still to be proved...no one injured , no one killed,,,, tortured and put behind the bar.. awarded imprisonment for 86 years... aah ray insaf... who will say it justice. I think no one will dare
Nov 08, 2012 01:10pm
"It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key" Winston Churchill
Nov 08, 2012 06:57am
Pakistan should take up her case without any further delay.
Nov 08, 2012 10:47pm
That is why taliban are becoming strong and anti American sentiment is at its peak in most of the third. World and America. Is weakening day by day
Pakistan Foundation
Nov 09, 2012 06:36pm
Please read Hamid Mir's article in daily jang ( www.e.jang.com.pk ) dated November , 08 or 09 , 2012. Actually it was the job of Pervez Musharraf's agencies.
Siddique Malik
Nov 08, 2012 06:48pm
Raymond Davis was set free by a Pakistani court. Are you questioning that verdict? If so, on what ground? Moreover, Aafia Siddiqui is not a Pakistani citizen; she is an American citizen. Instead of shedding tears for a convicted terrorist, show sympathy and compassion toward victims of terrorism, innocent Pakistanis who die or are injured by bombs exploded by the people for whom Aafia was working. Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
Nov 08, 2012 05:51pm
But USA say it justice,,,,because they are conscienceless......