KARACHI: US Senator Mike Gravel and Dr Aafia Siddiqui's attorney Tina Foster have said that no formal request for Dr Aafia's repatriation has ever been made to the US authorities despite support claims by all political parties of Pakistan.
Talking to media before leaving for the US, they urged the Pakistani leadership to take action for the release of Dr Aafia. They stressed that Dr Aafia was a Pakistani citizen and that the US government’s rendition of Dr Afia from Afghanistan to the US is illegal under international law.
Gravel and Tina of the International Justice Network further said that the Musharraf regime had illegally kidnapped Dr Aafia along with her three children from Karachi in March 2003, and handed her over to the US government for illegal interrogation and secret detention based on completely false information.
Senator Gravel, a former member of the US Congress and a presidential candidate who ran against President Obama in 2008, maintained that Dr Aafia’s trial in the United States was illegal. He added that the US government had no moral or legal justification for their actions.
The senator pointed out that the Pakistani government would have to take serious action if it wanted Dr Siddiqi to be repatriated, adding that only words were not enough.
Attorney Foster said that the Pakistani administration had missed out many opportunities to secure the release of Dr Aafia; the case of Raymond Davis, a bilateral agreement for prisoner exchange and the adoption of a formal transfer treaty could have led to Dr Aafia’s release.
"We have received no cooperation from the Government of Pakistan in securing Dr Siddiqui's repatriation to Pakistan," said Foster "There's been a lot of talk, but no concrete steps have been taken despite numerous requests for assistance."
"I've come on a humanitarian mission to ask Pakistani leadership for its assistance in returning Dr Siddiqui to Pakistan. It's obvious that the will of the Pakistani people is being ignored by their leadership," she said, adding that the US government will not unilaterally release Dr Siddiqui unless it is pressured to do so by Pakistan.
"Dr Siddiqui is not a US citizen, so the US government should not be left to determine her fate, she should be returned to Pakistan so that she can begin to recover from the horrible torture and abuse that she has suffered," said Senator Gravel.