SC directs govt to contact US authorities over reports of Aafia Siddiqui's death

CJP seeks certificate from US authorities confirming that Aafia is alive

Aafia Siddiqui. PHOTO: FILE

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has directed the government to contact US authorities over recent reports of Aafia Siddiqui’s death.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday took up a petition filed by Aafia’s sister, Fauzia Siddiqui, seeking repatriation of the former. During the hearing, the CJP noted that there were conflicting reports regarding her death. He asked the Attorney General of Pakistan as well as the Pakistani Embassy in the United States of America to submit a report.

While the CJP directed the AGP to contact the US embassy to check over Siddiqui’s health, her sister Fauzia said that according to media reports the Pakistani Consulate General held a meeting with Aafia on May 28 but it remains unverified.

CJP to hear petition seeking repatriation of Aafia Siddiqui

Earlier in the day, the chief justice had rejected registrar office objections on the petition while hearing the appeal in his chamber. The bench asked Additional Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti, who was sitting in the courtroom, to get information in this regard within three days.

The application was filed by Aafia’s sister Fauzia last month.

Last month, Dr Fauzia approached the Supreme Court requesting it to order the government to provide an update on the mental and physical state of Dr Aafia and confirm independently that she is alive and well, the petition said.

She also urged the court to order the government to extend cooperation in obtaining a US visa to allow Dr Fauzia to visit her sister and also demanded that a committee be constituted — which should include a team of medical experts to examine Dr Aafia’s health.

Pakistani diplomat rubbishes rumours of Aafia Siddiqui’s death

The petition pleaded the top court to formulate a comprehensive policy for protecting fundamental rights of Pakistanis detained abroad.

Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who was convicted in 2010 on charges of attempted murder and assault of US personnel, is serving an 86-year sentence at the Federal Medical Centre, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, US. Her sister Dr Fauzia has highlighted the plight of Pakistanis, who have been detained in prisons of foreign countries and has requested the court to look into the issue, considering when they can be repatriated through diplomatic efforts.

The petition deplored that several Pakistanis had been detained in foreign prisons on petty offences without any assistance or help from the Pakistan government. In her petition, Dr Fauzia has named as respondents the government through secretaries of law, interior, foreign ministries, overseas Pakistanis and human resource development as well Hussain Haqqani.

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