ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday sought reply from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister Secretariat on a petition filed to facilitate a meeting of Dr Fauzia Siddiqui with her sister Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

Aafia, a Pakistani neuroscientist, is serving an 86-year prison sentence in the US for attacking American soldiers in Afghanistan.

After a preliminary hearing, Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi of the IHC issued notices to the respondents and adjourned the hearing till the next week.

During the hearing, Sajid Qureshi, the counsel for Dr Fauzia, informed the court that unknown people had extended threats to his client for pursuing the case of her detained sister.

Advocate Qureshi expressed concerns over the health condition of Aafia and said the US authorities did not facilitate even a telephonic contact of the family with her.

He said it had been over two years since the family of Aafia had spoken to her on telephone.

Now, apparently, the facility has been withdrawn as none of her family members can talk to her despite making repeated calls to the jail.

He requested the court to ask the prime minister to take up the matter with US President Barak Obama to facilitate a meeting of Aafia with her family.

The court, however, put off the matter till the next week when the officials from the ministry of foreign affairs and the Prime Minister Secretariat would submit their replies.

Aafia went missing in 2003 after Al Qaeda number three and alleged mastermind of 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was arrested in Karachi.

Five years later, she turned up in Afghanistan where she was arrested by local forces in the restive southeastern province of Ghazni.

The Afghan authorities handed her to the US forces who began questioning her. During her interrogation, she allegedly grabbed a rifle and opened fire on the US agents. The soldiers escaped unhurt but she was injured.

From Afghanistan, she was taken to the US and put on trial and sentenced in 2010 to 86 years for the attempted murder.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2016

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