ISLAMABAD: Like other parts of the country, the federal capital also witnessed protest demonstrations against the US court verdict against Dr Afia Siddiqui. Besides this, people expressed anger and dismay over the US court decision in all mosques during Friday prayer. In this regard, two separate protest rallies were held in the federal capital by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI).
The JI rally started from Aabpara Market in which the participants holding banners and placards inscribing ‘US verdict unacceptable’, ‘Bring the nation’s daughter back’, ‘We do not accept unjust decisions’ and other anti US slogans. Police had blocked the routs leading to red zone through barbed wires and heavy contingents were deployed there to deal with any untoward situation. The demonstrators clash with police personnel when they tried to march towards the US embassy.
The enraged people also pelted stones at the police vans and tried seize an armoured vehicle but police failed their attempt through baton charge and tear gas firing. Afterward, a five member delegation after negotiation with police approached the US embassy to present protest remarks to embassy’s officials. The people dispersed after recording their protest with the US officials.
The rally held under the banner of PTI in front of Masjid Shuhada in Aapbara Market which was attended by party workers and civil society. The rally was lead by Imran Khan, PTI President of Punjab Chapter, Ahsan Rasheed and others. They strongly condemned the US verdict and chanted slogans against the US government and Pakistani government. They termed the US decision against an innocent woman violation of human rights and demanded the government to end ties with the US until repatriation of Dr Afia Sidiqui. Addressing the rally PTI Chief Imran Khan the US was slap on the face of entire nation and Pakistani nation will respond this action.
The ruler who handed over Dr Afia to US authorities was presented guard of honour by the present government and protocol. “Had the rulers tried seriously about Dr Afia, she would have been repatriated but it was their inability that she was imprisoned for 86 years,” he said. Imran Khan said that the nation would never forgive the rulers for this and their silence about Dr Afia issue showed they were slaves of the US.
Meanwhile the opposition leader in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has asked the government and opposition to wage protest against the jails term awarded by the US court against Afia Sidiqui while keeping aside all the internal differences. At a the point of order in the National Assembly on Friday he said that he was guessing the atmosphere in the House would be quite harsh on the court verdict against Afia Siddiqui but it was otherwise.
He urged the government to approach to the US government after consultation with parliamentarians and adopt a strategy how to lift this issue with the US government. He said that the whole nation was furious and uneasy in this regard but their representatives were showing no response. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that he did not want to say anything about the US court verdict but the matter of Dr Afia was a case of human rights and there were enough weaknesses in the case of prosecutor which could be used in defence of Afia Siddiqui.
He said they were told that the US administration would follow its court verdict but if the US administration was respecting its courts then it should respect the Pakistani courts. He said a court absconder of Pakistani court was roaming freely in the US and also delivering lectures and receives millions on dollars. “He is the man who killed many people, detained the judges, harmed civil society and bruised the constitution for two times,” he said.
Chaudhry Nisar Said if the matter of Dr Afia Siddiqui could not be interfered then it was the responsibility of the US and UK governments to hand over former general Musharraf to Pakistani court. He said that Afia Siddiqui was carrying the allegations for firing at the US troops but there were no proofs from where the bullet was fired and who fired it. He said a woman was imprisoned for 86 years only on the basis of allegations.
In a statement issued here on Friday, PML President Chaudhry Shujat Hussain was grieved by the harsh verdict by the US Federal Courts in Manhattan in Dr. Aafia’s case and expressed his sympathies and prayers with her and family. Chaudhry Shujat Hussain said, all immediate legal and diplomatic actions should be taken and pursued vigorously for the release of Dr. Aafia. He also suggested that direct contact should be established between President Zardari and President Obama in this very important case, which may have tremendous political and human rights fall out. The President of United States has the power to pardon anyone in any case. This avenue should also be seriously pursued.
Prime Minister has said every effort will be made to bring back Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan. Talking to Interior Minister Rehman Malik he directed to use all means for her repatriation. Prime Minister said the incumbent government highlighted the issue at every level. He lauded the efforts of Minister for Interior to bring back two children of Dr Aafia safely to Pakistan and the steps to trace her third missing child.
While Interior Minister Rehman Malik on the directions of Prime Minister has constituted a high level committee to suggest legal ways and means to get the repatriation of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui from USA to Pakistan. The action was taken in the wake of decision of US Court sentencing Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to 86 years imprisonment. The committee will comprise of representative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Law & Justice and Ministry of Interior, including two eminent lawyers. It will examine the possibility of filing an appeal against the judgment of US Court and hiring of US Lawyer for the said purpose. An inter-party delegation comprising of women Parliamentarians, having representation from all the Provinces, will be sent to USA to meet the US officials / politicians to agitate the matter amongst the US government and civil society circles.
They include officials of the US State Department, US Attorney General’s Office, US Homeland Security Officials, Legal Fraternity including Congressmen / Senators and Members of Civil Society.