Dr Aafia’s lawyer seeks exchange with Dr Afridi

Published: July 27, 2012
Says they have written to the Pakistan embassy and members of the US Congress. PHOTO: FILE

Says they have written to the Pakistan embassy and members of the US Congress. PHOTO: FILE


Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s lawyer says they have written to the Embassy of Pakistan to repatriate Dr Siddiqui in exchange for Dr Shakil Afridi, and are also in touch with members of the Congress on the issue.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Tina Foster, Dr Siddiqui’s lawyer, said that they had sent a letter to the Ambassador Sherry Rehman, asking Pakistan to take action to repatriate Dr Siddiqui. However, said Foster, the Embassy of Pakistan has not sent her any “substantiative response” on the letter despite having acknowledged receiving it.

In response to Foster, Nadeem Hotiana, a spokesperson for the Embassy of Pakistan said that Pakistani authorities have been pressing US authorities to repatriate Dr Siddiqui ever since she was in US custody.

The Pakistani Embassy official told The Express Tribune, “Ms Foster did raise the matter of a possible exchange of Shakil Afridi with Dr Aafia. The matter was referred to the concerned authorities in Pakistan. It is not the place of the embassy to unilaterally create a response without Islamabad’s approval.”

Hotiana said that Dr Siddiqui’s lawyer has been told that her suggestions were forwarded to Islamabad. “The embassy essentially had a liaison role in all matters relating to Pakistan-US relations. Decisions were taken by the relevant authorities in the capital.”

Dr Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in prison on charges of firing on a US soldier in Bagram. Dr Siddiqui’s family says she had been missing with her children for several years before she was discovered in Bagram, and have denied all charges levelled against her.

US authorities accuse Dr Siddiqui of helping al Qaeda, notably Majid Khan, a Guantanamo detainee who recently pleaded guilty to all charges against him.

Dr Shakil Afridi was arrested after it came to light that he helped the CIA in trying to ascertain al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden’s identity in the Abbotabad compound through a fake polio vaccination campaign. He was convicted of helping a militant group and sentenced to 33 years in jail.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a US official said that the US and Pakistan did not have a prisoner exchange treaty. The official said that they were not aware of any formal request from Pakistan on such an exchange.

Laura Lucas, a spokesperson for the State Department told The Express Tribune: “Aafia Siddiqui was convicted after trial and is serving her sentence. It is not clear if the US would accept such a request and if the US did accept, Dr Siddiqui would have to serve her sentence in Pakistan.

Foster said they had made a similar offer to then Interior Minister Rehman Malik in 2011 when CIA contractor Raymond Davis was jailed in Pakistan after killing two men in Lahore.

In her letter, Foster wrote, “Pakistan does not have many opportunities to influence US Government decisions regarding Pakistani citizens in its custody. However, the current situation presents the ideal opportunity to achieve what your Government has consistently stated that it desires the repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan.”

Davis flew to the US in March after blood money was paid to the families of the victims that Davis had shot dead in Lahore.

The Embassy of Pakistan said that they and the Consulate General in Houston are in touch with the prison authorities where Dr Siddiqui is detained, adding that an officer from the consulate general visits Dr Siddiqui nearly every three months, with the last visit taking place in April this year.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (48)

  • Iram
    Jul 27, 2012 - 10:01AM

    Why didn’t with Raymond?


  • Ahmer Ali
    Jul 27, 2012 - 10:11AM

    Much the best,excellent and impressive.Pakistani leaders have to support this stance of Dr. Aafia’s lawyer………


  • USMAN786
    Jul 27, 2012 - 10:12AM

    Seems she read my quote here ie Doctor for Doctor


  • Indian Catholic
    Jul 27, 2012 - 10:21AM

    And they call Indians baniyas.


  • amused
    Jul 27, 2012 - 10:24AM

    forget it that they will ever release a convicted terrorist for a small time doctor


  • B.Ally
    Jul 27, 2012 - 10:32AM

    Dr Afia is an American Citizen and was sentenced under American Law. She must serve it as sentenced.

    Dr Afridi is a Pakistani Citizen and was sentenced under Pakistani Law. He must serve it as sentenced.

    Both cases have nothing to do with each other.


  • Voice of Gilgit
    Jul 27, 2012 - 10:34AM

    What a shame full statement, Exchange in Innocent women for an agent?


  • DevilHunterX
    Jul 27, 2012 - 10:43AM

    One is a convicted terrorist and other is responsible for killing a terrorist.


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Jul 27, 2012 - 10:55AM

    A prisoner swap with out consideration of crime. Is it still the 21st century?


  • Imran Con
    Jul 27, 2012 - 11:08AM

    Yeah, this won’t be going anywhere.


  • Maher
    Jul 27, 2012 - 11:10AM

    Modern BARTER System :)


  • Tufan Agha
    Jul 27, 2012 - 11:49AM

    This is not a viable option.

    Both should suffer for working against their countries. Dr Afia is a US citizen and should suffer for betraying her country. Dr Shakil is a Pakistani citizen and should brave the punisment for espoinage and working for foreign intelligence agency.


  • Uza Syed
    Jul 27, 2012 - 12:26PM

    @B.Ally: Agree with you that this terrorist woman Afia is an American citizen and we should not make it our business to interfere with nature of her crime and what the laws of her new country decide. She was involved with those who were helping terrorism and terrorists to destroy human lives following the screwed up mindset propagated by the Shaikh of all terrorists and terrorism.

    Let’s not confuse a supporter of terrorism a foreign national, Afia Siddiqui the US citizen with a patriotic Pakistani citizen Dr. Afridi an anti-terrorist peace loving man who tried and succeeded in ridding this threat to our and worlds peace loving people.

    This man Dr. Afridi is a fellow Pakistani citizen whose only mistake is that he helped, without informing our authorities, destroy the most detestable demon Osama Bin Laden. He might have broken laws of our country, but that is an innocent error of a well meaning Pakistani citizen who took it upon himself to help his people and his country win the war we all have een fighting to capture or destroy this enemy of Pakistan. As far as I’m concerned this man must be not only granted amnesty but recognized for his service to our cause and for the cause of peace.


  • Adil
    Jul 27, 2012 - 12:42PM

    Its extremely strange that how well the people believe that Bin laden was killed in Abbottabad, the western media is so strong… I mean has anyone seen a real photo of his body?? if there is no evidence then its the media who is compelling the people to accept it. Its very strange that the video of Sddam Hussain’s killing is seen by everyopne but why not this… the only explanation left is that, it is false.
    If Dr afridi is a traitor, he should be punished in Pakistan as a lesson for others


  • ShakingMyHead
    Jul 27, 2012 - 1:24PM

    if pakistan wants to regain any respect it must make an official offer, after all the pakistani govt is responsible for handing over 800 muslims many who were later found innocent. REDEEM YOURSELF SELL OUTS!


  • Shah
    Jul 27, 2012 - 1:29PM


    true..but people will never understand you..


  • Shah
    Jul 27, 2012 - 1:31PM

    @Uza Syed:

    Afridi should have informed Pakistanis…he knew with whom the was working…its a big mistake my friend…because of him today we got humiliated…


  • haseeb uddin
    Jul 27, 2012 - 1:39PM

    i dont care for either of them.. why should pakistan spend their tax rupees on two people who have contributed NOTHING to Pakistan except giving them bad name??? they can rot in whatever underground sewer they are held in!


  • yasir
    Jul 27, 2012 - 2:00PM

    A better solution if not the best!!


  • RS
    Jul 27, 2012 - 2:02PM

    Absolutely a ridiculous thouht n idea.


  • Uza Syed
    Jul 27, 2012 - 2:08PM

    @Shah: May I ask with “who” was he working? What is so embarrassing, haven’t we all, as a nation, working with them almost through out our history—- haven’t we?


  • Jul 27, 2012 - 2:12PM

    Strange logic! One is terrorist other helped catching Global Number One terrorist.


  • SouthEastAsian
    Jul 27, 2012 - 2:16PM

    Dr.Aafia must be traded for Aynan Zawahiri. As a bonus Dr.Afridi must be set free.


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jul 27, 2012 - 2:26PM

    Pakistan does not know how to handle the situation.

    Had I been invited in the discussions for opening NATO groud supply routes, I would have told to US to release Dr. Afia Siddiqui and send her back home atter that ground NATO supply routes would have been opened.

    Furthermore, I would have not raised the point of releasing Dr. Afridi in lieu of Dr. Aafia Siddqui.

    Look at the big heads of Pakistan. The will always remain slaves of the West for the sake of their personal gains and not for the interest of the country.


  • Sajjad
    Jul 27, 2012 - 2:40PM

    Afridi is an unscrupulous doctor.He is said to receive a large sum of money from the CIA for his work.Because of his activities people in FATA and some parts of KPK are refusing polio immunization for their children, thereby affecting Pakistan’s goal to become polio-free.There should be no prisoner swab,which I do not think even the Americans will agree..


  • faraz
    Jul 27, 2012 - 2:42PM


    Raymond was released after application of great Islamic principle of Diyat.


  • Hegdefunder
    Jul 27, 2012 - 3:09PM

    Perhaps they should create an Comittee, to start trading all the other cockroaches wanted by US, for a fee and also any other prisoners !
    There is a long list starting with hafeez Saaed, whose already has an Fee, then perhaps any senior AQ members, Taliban members Haqquanis etc…..
    Could be very profitable for a country desperate for Money!


  • Parvez
    Jul 27, 2012 - 3:11PM

    One male in exchange for one female. Where’s the balance ? – the religious lot will protest.


  • Hegdefunder
    Jul 27, 2012 - 4:32PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:
    The will always remain slaves of the West for the sake of their personal gains and not for the interest of the country

    Since when has anyone ever acted in the interest of the Nation, in Pakistan ?
    Their rulers, may they be civilians or Military, have always vested their own interests, while the people have been fed too much Ghairat, that they too have lost the abilty to face reality in face !


  • Singh
    Jul 27, 2012 - 5:22PM

    Wow, does ET know that “Nobody” I mean nobody can Interfere in judicial process in USA.
    This story is laughable.


  • Habib A.
    Jul 27, 2012 - 5:42PM

    @Singh – that is not true, Mr. Singh. You seem unread on history and politics of the United States. The government can request anything to the judiciary and make it happen.


  • sohaib
    Jul 27, 2012 - 7:00PM

    How absurd??? How can one Pakistani citizen be exchanged with another?


  • Cautious
    Jul 27, 2012 - 7:32PM

    The USA would never entertain this deal which is clearly a publicity stunt or another “made in Pakistan” article — suggest the author spend the time to look up the name of Aafia’s real attorney.


  • Mirza
    Jul 27, 2012 - 7:47PM

    @Raza Khan:
    I agree with you 100%. A convicted foreign terrorist cannot and should not be equated with a number one enemy of terrorists. Some have all the compassion for a US terrorist but none for a Pakistani doctor who has helped the humanity for generations. The mere demand that Afia should be brought to Pakistan once again proves that we have terrorist havens for global jihadists.


  • Cautious
    Jul 27, 2012 - 8:10PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui.

    Pakistan does not know how to handle
    the situation. Had I been invited in the discussions
    for opening NATO groud supply routes,
    I would have told to US to release Dr.
    Afia Siddiqui and send her back home
    atter that ground NATO supply routes
    would have been opened.

    Yeah right — your govt couldn’t get the USA to accept an single one of their demands and you think that adding another egregious demand would have brought them to their knees. It’s clear that your understanding of American’s isn’t much different than your govt’s and your demand would have been a “non starter” from the get go.


  • xor
    Jul 27, 2012 - 9:11PM

    Dr Aafia is not US citizen.


  • Hegdefunder
    Jul 27, 2012 - 9:12PM

    Where have you been ? could not have agreed anymore with you on this issue.
    Its not really a case that she is Pak version of Mother Teresa, nor is she their National, so why do the Paks want her so desperately is beyond anyone’s understanding !
    Secondly majority of the people here simply have no idea as to procedure and legal system of US and its constitutional responsibilties either.
    This is always going to non event, apart from at some stage the Pakistanis may release the doctor and allow him to move to states !


  • anwar
    Jul 27, 2012 - 9:42PM

    The third option is that The US should release The good doctors wife and kids from their so called “protective custody” and then perhaps we can ask if the doctor wants to settle in the west


  • paul siemering
    Jul 28, 2012 - 8:48AM

    Aafia never did any crime. she should never have been in prison


  • paul siemering
    Jul 28, 2012 - 8:52AM

    Aafia never did any crime. She belongs home with her children


  • j. von hettlingen
    Jul 28, 2012 - 5:30PM

    Out of legal point of view, there will be no deal. Politically Pakistan has more leverage, as it’s holding Shakil Afridi, thanks to whom the US could track down Osama bin Laden. Hence the US feels obliged morally to help him or else its image would be tarnished. Whether the US is prepared to release Aafia Siddiqui in exchange for Afridi is another matter.


  • Hegdefunder
    Jul 28, 2012 - 6:35PM

    @j. von hettlingen:
    US’s track record suggest otherwise ! There have been plenty of Afridis in past for US and they have never really gone out of their way to do such exchanges except for ones during cold war and most recently another mass exchange with the Russians, however these were spies and not terrorists or terror related !
    US will continue to press for Afridi’s release thru diplomatic and other channels, but I don’t think an exchange will ever be considered !


  • Vikram
    Jul 28, 2012 - 6:47PM

    Pakistani government wants her back. She may talk about her connections with other state and non-state Pakistani actors.


  • Jul 29, 2012 - 2:28AM

    Please keep that lunatic in USA, we have too many of our own to deal with.

    As for that Dr Afridi – I hope he stays for rest of his life in a Pakistani jail. He collaborated with a foreign intelligence agency without State approval, which makes it a crime. US and Israel both are holding people who spied for other country even they happen to be best of the allies!


  • Andrew
    Aug 1, 2012 - 1:16AM

    Can any of you tell me when Dr. Aafia became an American citizen?
    I have known her since she landed in Texas in 1990. She came to the United States on a student visa. When she married a Pakistani citizen several years later her visa was changed to identify her as the wife of a temporary worker. She was still a Pakistani citizen when they returned to Pakistan with their children in 2002. It is unlikely that she was given US citizenship while she was being held in Bagram Prison and certainly not while she was being tried in New York City on charges of attempting to murder American soldiers. She has not been given American citizenship since being sent to Carswell Prison in Fort Worth to serve her eighty-six year sentence. The court documents state that when she is freed in 2083, she will be deported to Pakistan as an undesirable alien.


  • anwar
    Aug 1, 2012 - 6:19PM

    “trying to kill US soldiers” what sort of a lame brain charge is that?? What sort of a Kangaroo court would even listen to that charge???


  • saeedayubi
    Aug 3, 2012 - 5:06PM

    this is an other chance of our Muslims brother for a Muslim sister to leave it from the hand of cruel people.
    Please put to gather and be like a brother and get own sister from Americans. Recommend

  • Danny Boy
    Aug 7, 2012 - 10:31AM

    Raymond Davis has paid blood money according to Islamic law….so his case is irrelevant here


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