Shah Mehmood Qureshi meets sister of Dr Aafia Siddiqui

Foreign minister, Dr Fouzia Siddiqui discuss possible ways forward for Dr Afia’s repatriation

By
Mona Khan

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday met the sister of Dr Afia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist and mother of three jailed in the US for almost a decade, at the Foreign Office.

During the meeting, efforts to bring back Dr Aafia were discussed.

Taking to Twitter after the meeting, Qureshi said he and Dr Fouzia Siddiqui discussed possible ways forward for Dr Afia’s repatriation.

 "Met Dr Fauzia Siddiqui today and assured her of my full support. I’ve asked our Consul General in Houston to seek regular consular visits and ensure Dr Aafia’s well-being in line with her legal and human rights," he added.

The foreign minister also apprised Dr Fouzia Siddiqui of the efforts undertaken in Dr Aafia’s case. 

Last week, Qureshi said that the government will make all efforts on the diplomatic level to bring Dr Aafia back to Pakistan.

Qureshi said Dr Aafia's family would be facilitated if she serves rest of her term in Pakistan. He also denied any offer made by the US in the past to free the incarcerated Pakistani neuroscientist in exchange for the release of Raymond Davis, a CIA operative who gunned down two men in Lahore in 2011.

Further, FO spokesperson Muhammad Faisal last week said Pakistan has raised with the United States the issue of Dr Aafia but no decision has been taken regarding her release as yet.

The Pakistani government had raised the issue of "respecting the human and legal rights" of Dr Aafia with US Ambassador Alice Wells who visited Islamabad on November 7.

On June 7, 2018, the Supreme Court of Pakistan summoned a report from the Pakistan Embassy in Washington on Dr Aafia, after a three-member bench, led by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, heard a petition filed by Dr Fouzia.

Dr Aafia was indicted by a New York federal district court in September 2008 on charges of attempted murder and assault, stemming from an incident during an interview with the US authorities in Ghazni, Afghanistan — charges that she denied.

After 18 months in detention, she was tried and convicted in early 2010 and sentenced to 86 years in prison.

She has since been imprisoned in the US.