‘Bold steps’ by Pak govt. might help in Aafia Siddiqui’s release, says sister

January 31st, 2011 - 4:36 pm ICT by ANI  

Nawaz Sharif Karachi, Jan 31(ANI): The sister of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who was sentenced to 86 years in prison by a US federal court, has said that strong efforts by the Pakistan government might help in getting her released.

“Despite all the differences between Pakistan and the US, Aafia could be brought to home within few hours, if the Pakistani government takes some bold steps,” the Daily Times quoted Fouzia Siddiqui, as saying.

Fouzia also said that political leaders in Pakistan, including PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and MQM chief Altaf Hussain, have assured her family of extending unconditional support.

Besides the political parties, prominent figures of business community and civil society have also expressed solidarity with her several times.

She is now likely to meet with President Asif Ali Zardari and US Ambassador in Pakistan over the issue this week after which she will announce the strategy of the ‘Free Aafia Movement’.

Aafia, a mother of three, was found guilty of grabbing a rifle at a police station in the Afghan town of Ghazni where she was being interrogated in July 2008 and of trying to gun down a group of US servicemen and FBI agents.

Prosecutors said that she opened fire, shouting “death to America!”

However, the 38-year-old had denied the charges, saying that the interrogators had fired on her when she had attempted to flee.

Many of Aafia’s supporters, including international human rights organizations, have claimed that Aafia was not an extremist and that she and her young children were illegally detained, interrogated and tortured by Pakistani intelligence or U.S. authorities or both during her five-year disappearance.

The U.S. and Pakistan governments have denied all such claims. (ANI)

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