'Did not say Dr Aafia Siddiqui does not want to return to Pakistan,' says FO spokesperson

April 25, 2019

Email

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Thursday clarified that he had "certainly" had not said that Dr Aafia Siddiqui did not want to come back to Pakistan. — PID/File
Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Thursday clarified that he had "certainly" had not said that Dr Aafia Siddiqui did not want to come back to Pakistan. — PID/File

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Thursday clarified that he "certainly" had not said that Dr Aafia Siddiqui does not want to come back to Pakistan.

During his weekly press briefing, Dr Faisal claimed that his statement regarding Dr Siddiqui had been distorted and taken out of context. The FO spokesperson said that steps to bring Dr Siddiqui back were underway and the matter of her return was continuously being raised with Washington.

He added that, with regards Dr Siddiqui and Shakeel Afridi, Pakistan's stance was the same as before and there was no change in it.

On Tuesday, Independent Urdu had shared an interview with the FO spokesperson in which he was said "she (Dr Siddiqui) will not come back. She does not want to come back herself, as per the information I have."

The FO spokesperson had said that the only way the possibility of Dr Siddiqui's return could arise was if Prime Minister Imran Khan and US President Donald Trump met in the future.

In that case, "the exchange of Aafia Siddiqui for Shakeel Afridi could come under discussion," he had added.

Dr Siddiqui's sister Dr Fouzia contested the FO spokesperson statement, telling Independent Urdu that "if anyone says that Aafia herself does not want to come to Pakistan, it is completely untrue." She also confirmed that the consulate office in Houston had met Aafia last month.

Dr Fouzia had further revealed that "at one point it had seemed as if Aafia was going to come to Pakistan any moment."

She said that she had been reassured by the government that negotiations with the US were ongoing and that "there will be a good news between January and March, but now silence has set in again."

"Aafia told me on the phone that she is ready to sign any document, and that she only wants to get out of jail somehow," Dr Fouzia was quoted as saying.

It is pertinent to mention here that last year, Dr Siddiqui's sister, Dr Fouzia, had requested Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to take up the matter with the US.

The foreign minister had said that the issue of Dr Siddiqui's repatriation was "being considered", following which Consul General in Houston Aisha Farooqui had met Dr Siddiqui and urged the US to "respect her human and legal rights".