Aafia has signed mercy petition, Senate told

Published October 30, 2020
A file photo of Pakistan-born neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
A file photo of Pakistan-born neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

ISLAMABAD: The Senate was informed on Thursday that Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist convicted by a US court on the charge of shooting at army and FBI officers while in custody in Afghanistan, has finally signed a mercy petition.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan said during the question hour that earlier Dr Siddiqui had reservations over filing the mercy petition, but now she has signed it and the petition was being sent to the US president through the jail authorities.

“If we had the power, we would have brought Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan within 24 hours,” Mr Awan said.

He said Dr Siddiqui had access to e-mail through which she stayed in touch with her family and counsel.

Besides, he said, Dr Aafia had spoken to officials of Pakistan Embassy in the United States by telephone several times.

The adviser said that legal action could be taken against those who had handed over Dr Siddiqui and Aimal Kansi to the United States.

On behalf of the foreign minister, Mr Awan was responding to a question asked by Senator Mushtaq Ahmad who had sought to confirm whether ban had been imposed on meetings with Dr Siddiqui in the US jail during the Covid-19 pandemic and the number of Covid-19 patients was increasing in that prison.

The written reply said that during the pandemic, the consular visits had been suspended by the prison authorities in Federal Medical Centre, Carswell, a US federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, for female inmates with special medical and mental health needs.

“Resultantly, in person meetings of our Consul General with Dr Aafia Siddiqui had been put on hold. However, Consul General remained in touch with the prison authorities in order to get updates on the health and well-being of Dr Aafia,” the reply said.

It said that due to efforts made by Pakistan’s Embassy in Washington DC, a special consular visit had been arranged for the consul general in Houston to meet Dr Siddiqui on Sept 24. During the meeting she herself informed the consul general that her Covid-19 test had come negative. She was alert in her conversation with the diplomat and told him that she had recently been examined by her psychiatrist who had declared her well.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2020

Opinion

Crumbs of neutrality?
28 Feb 2021

Crumbs of neutrality?

One must assess the opposition’s new-found realisation that the establishment has suddenly become neutral.
Saving Pakistan
27 Feb 2021

Saving Pakistan

If the three main political parties have each failed to govern well, the question arises: why?

Editorial

28 Feb 2021

Covid concerns

WITH every form of restriction now effectively lifted in the country after an assessment of the Covid-19 situation,...
FATF decision
Updated 28 Feb 2021

FATF decision

THE decision taken by the Financial Action Task Force to keep Pakistan on the grey list until June, despite the...
28 Feb 2021

Underfunded police

FOR decades, successive governments in the country have talked about police reforms. While the latter are essential,...
LoC ceasefire
Updated 27 Feb 2021

LoC ceasefire

THE Pakistan-India relationship is known for its complexity and bitterness, but there are times when surprises of a...
27 Feb 2021

Null and void

HAD people not lost their lives, the ham-fisted attempt at rigging the Daska by-election on Feb 19 could have been...
27 Feb 2021

Minister’s non-appearance

FEDERAL Water Resources Minister Faisal Vawda’s continued absence from the Election Commission’s hearing on the...