LAHORE: Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhary of the Lahore High Court on Monday disposed of a contempt of court petition against the interior ministry for not handing to the foreign ministry evidence of Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s innocence.
The judge accepted the interior ministry – as claimed by the interior secretary’s statement during an earlier hearing that the ministry lacked tangible evidence.
The judge also allowed petitioner, Javed Iqbal Jaffrey to write to the US district court directly if he had any evidence.
In his testimony the interior secretary had said that the Centre had no information about the kidnapping of Dr Aafia Siddiqui and her children from their house in Karachi in 2003 as claimed by the petitioner. He informed the court that the police were also unable to find any evidence of this during the course of investigation.
Aafia’s son was also engaged in the investigation process but failed to recount the incident so as to provide sufficient evidence, he said.
He said an official letter, along with press clipping enclosing facts about Dr Aafia’s case, had been sent to Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US.
“He would pass on the documents to the US State Department and the US District Court prior to their announcing of verdict in Dr Aafia’s case on August 16,” the secretary summed.
The LHC had earlier sought an explanation from the interior secretary for why the available evidence was not handed over to the foreign ministry to be passed on to the US District Court, trying Dr Aafia.
In his petition, Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffrey had claimed that the Centre had relied on media reports for Dr Aafia’s release and no documentary evidence was provided to the US authorities – as directed by the court.
It also held that the Centre had not followed in “letter and spirit” court’s earlier orders to provide sufficient evidence to the trial court to result in Dr Aafia’s acquittal.
The petitioner had requested the court to order the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to write a letter to the trial judge of the US District Court of New York informing it that Aafia and her three children were kidnapped and should be released.
The petitioner had also held that Sohail Khan, the director general of American desk in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of flouting court orders. The petition quoted Jaffery saying Sohail had succumbed to pressure from the CIA and the FBI as he did not write any letter despite several reminders from the court.
Published in The Express Tribune, August, 3rd, 2010.
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