SC rejects petition requesting Aafia Siddiqui's repatriation

Justice Nisar questioned how the apex court can direct US authorities


Hasnaat Malik June 25, 2018
Aafia Siddiqui. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has rejected a petition on Monday that called for repatriating Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who is incarcerated in the United States.

The three-judge bench, headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, resumed the hearing on the petition filed by Fowzia Siddiqui, Dr Aafia’s sister, that also called for formulating a comprehensive policy for protecting fundamental rights of Pakistanis detained abroad.

CJP to hear petition seeking repatriation of Aafia Siddiqui

Dr Aafia Siddiqui, convicted in 2010 on charges of attempted murder and mounting an assault on US military personnel, is serving an 86-year sentence at the Federal Medical Centre, Carswell, Fort Worth in Texas.

The petition requested the court to order the government to ratify certain international treaties – either the convention on the transfer of sentenced persons or the inter-American convention on serving criminals sentences abroad.

Ratifying these treaties, the petitioner insisted, were necessary for repatriating Dr Aafia Siddiqui and other Pakistani prisoners as soon as possible.

During the hearing on Monday, the bench wondered how Pakistan’s apex court could direct the US authorities.

The petitioner was directed to approach a US court to address her grievances.

“We took up the matter just to know if she is alive or not. It is learnt that she is alive … We cannot do anything in this matter,” Justice Nisar said.

The chief justice said that there was no way they could order authorities of an independent state.

Pakistani diplomat rubbishes rumours of Aafia Siddiqui’s death

When the petitioner’s counsel insisted that the case fell under the apex court’s purview under Article 4 of the Constitution, the bench noted that the article was not applicable in this case by any extension, and they could not order Pakistan’s embassy to take up the matter with the US authorities.

Meanwhile, Fowzia Siddiqui left the courtroom in tears.

Last week, a confidential report prepared by Pakistan’s consul-general of her visit to Dr Aafia Siddiqui maintained that Dr Aafia was subjected to physical and sexual abuse during her detention.

Consul-General Aisha Farooqui visited Aafia at the medical center in Carswell, Texas.

The report recommended diplomatic authorities to take up the case at the highest levels to find a way for repatriating Dr Aafia, allowing her to serve her remaining sentence in Pakistan.

Aafia’s sister Fowzia Siddiqui submitted the report compiled by the consul-general on May 23 after she met with Dr Aafia.

It presented details about miserable conditions suffered by Dr Aafia, including her struggle to protect her dignity, integrity and respect.

However, the bench did not consider this report.

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