Media Watch: Condemnations, protests and controversy over Dr Aafia verdict

Published: September 25, 2010

Protestors shout slogans as they march toward the US embassy during an anti-US protest in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP

Media watch is a daily round-up of key articles featured on news websites, hand-picked by The Express Tribune web staff.

Country erupts over Dr Aafia verdict

As many as 18 people were injured and over a dozen others arrested by the police, as hundreds of students and women activists of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) protested on Friday the American court’s verdict against Pakistani scientist, Dr Aafia Siddiqui. Ismail Dilawar (brecorder.com)

Aafia Siddiqui

Here in Pakistan, the vociferous protest about the ‘innocence’ of Dr Siddiqui has much to do with the suspicion that she has been a victim of the ‘war on terror’, a Muslim mother who was somehow targeted by an increasingly Islamophobic West because she proudly wore her Muslim identity. Inside the courtroom, however, such suspicions and fears were largely beside the point: Dr Siddiqui’s decision to take the witness stand against all legal advice was largely her undoing, there being enough contradictions raised during her cross-examination that reasonable suspicion was created. (dawn.com)

Aafia’s suffering

While a furore will naturally rise at home over the case, human rights activists should also use the affair to direct attention towards the fate of other Pakistanis who have also landed up in foreign jails. Some are certainly innocent or guilty of little more than immigration offences. They too, like Dr Siddiqui, deserve justice. It is important also that the details of Dr Siddiqui’s story should be explored in greater depth. It is undoubtedly an immensely sad one. No one should suffer the fate she has suffered. There is reason for the anger we see. But perhaps the tale of the young woman can also offer us insight into how extremist networks operate and why the best and brightest in our land may be targeted by them. Perceived and real injustice perpetuated by the US plays a role in this. But it is important to rise above emotion and examine all these factors–so that others can be spared the same suffering. (thenews.com.pk)

MQM chief calls for Aafia sentence withdrawal

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain has demanded the American government withdraw the sentence of Dr Afia Siddiqui and set her free. In a statement issued from the MQM International Secretariat, he criticised the sentencing by the US court and said that this would lead to what he called more hatred against America among the Pakistani people. Altaf Hussain sympathised with the mother of Afia, Begum Asmat Siddiqui, and sister, Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, as well other members of the family. (dailytimes.com.pk)

Reader Comments (2)

  • Why am I not suprised?
    Sep 25, 2010 - 10:59PM

    Had the evidence against Aafia been 100% fool proof, this nation would still come up with a conspiracy theory. What is really unpalatable for the Pakistanis is the fact that a woman of Pakistani origin is convicted by the US and not so much her presumed innocence. In this case it is ‘izzt kaa muaamela’, even though Dr. Aafia is a US national.

    The collective national ‘ghaarat’ takes a hike when the daughters of the nation are buried alive, or paraded naked on the streets, or locked to languish in jails on charges they don’t even know about. There is no political mileage to be had from those cases. Instead these incidences actually expose the hypocrisy of the self-preserving politicians and the self-glorifiying mullah. These incidence are considered as the price the unfortunates daughters of the nation have to to pay for the crime of being born a woman in Pakistan. So much for the hype of a daughter of the nation. Hypocrites!

    It is high time that the nation worries about the draconian laws against women. Instead, the losers are getting riled up on the calls of disingenuous politicians and mullahs for whom this case is a golden opportunity to strengthen their strangle hold by furthering self-glorification into the national mindset.Recommend

  • SKChadha
    Sep 26, 2010 - 11:42AM

    The details of the case and Aafia’s life span are available at:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aafia_Siddiqui

    The actions, life span and her family’s testimonies suggest involvement, incoherence and some mental imbalance. However, the evidences are quite elaborative. The episode also suggests that the action is with tacit approval and support of Pak establishment. The reported mental state of the lady is suggestive that her release may not be in favor of society at large. Wherever kept, she requires confinement and rehabilitation. We do not know about future but chances of improvement are grim. I am not aware of any other side of the story, if somebody may elaborate further … ? The details on Wikipedia at above link are quite elaborative.Recommend

More in Pakistan