WASHINGTON: The Pakistani embassy in Washington has asked the United States to provide immediate medical treatment to Dr Aafia Siddiqui and ensure that she is not subjected to any humiliation on the pretext of body searches before and after visits by her lawyers. On the instructions of Ambassador Husain Haqqani, the embassy asked the State Department that Ms Siddiqui, who is suffering from bullet wounds, be provided proper medical treatment.
The embassy sought the State Department’s intervention in ensuring that Ms Siddiqui is not subjected to any humiliation or degradation on the pretext of body searches before and after visits by her attorneys, as such a practice is unacceptable in Islamic culture. Ms Aafia Siddiqui, a 36-year old neuroscientist who studied at a U.S. university before her return to Pakistan in 2003, is under detention in New York on charges of attempted attack on U.S. officials. Her lawyers have rejected the charge as ‘absurd’ and Monday complained that she had not received medical treatment since her arrival last week following which the judge ordered immediate medical attention for her.
Meanwhile, the embassy has detailed a diplomat at the Pakistani consulate in New York, Saqib Rauf, to stay in contact over the issue. On Monday, a frail looking Ms Siddiqui appeared before a district court judge in New York City in a wheelchair for a bail hearing, which has been postponed to September 3.
Two Pakistani diplomats met with Ms Siddiqui Sunday in the Brooklyn detention centre after Washington acceded to a request for consular access made by the Pakistani embassy. A mother of three children, Ms Siddiqui requested a fair trial, respect for her rights as a prisoner, medical treatment, a copy of the holy Quran and halal food. The diplomats asked the U.S. authorities to extend all possible assistance in response to her demands.
US court has adjourned Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s bail-plea hearing till September 3. The court issued an order for her medical check up after given arguments by her lawyer as she was found with bullets’ spots on her body and her intestine was also removed during US custody. She was too week to walk as she was brought into the court on wheelchair. Meanwhile, President Supreme Court Bar Association Aitzaz Ahsan expressed his hope that American judiciary would provide justice to her. Mr. Ahsan, prominent lawyer Athar Minnalah and a number of social and political activists were also present out side the court to express solidarity with her.-SANA