Lawmakers to demand Aafia’s repatriation

Paliamentarians plan demonstrations on Constitution Avenue in Islamabad to demand Dr Aafia's repatriation.


Express September 25, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Parliamentarians vowed to stage a demonstration on Monday on the Constitution Avenue in Islamabad to protest against what they called the passing of an unfair judgment by a US federal court, handing Dr Aafia Siddiqui an 86-year jail term. They said they would demand the repatriation of Dr Aafia to Pakistan.

Expressing concern over the sentencing, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Friday that the government had not shown enough seriousness on the issue. “We had moved Dr Aafia’s case when we were part of this government, but the matter was not pursued vigorously,” he said.

Chaudhry Nisar said that even now it was not too late and the government should raise this issue pro-actively.  “Parliamentarians have to play a pivotal role to raise the issue on humanitarian grounds,” he told the lower house.

“Lawmakers should lead a march on the Constitution Avenue to press the Obama administration to return Dr Aafia to Pakistan,” he said. “The government should lodge an effective protest and take the entire nation into confidence on the issue. This is a matter of honour and dignity for all Pakistanis.”

“Without making any comment on the US court’s decision, we must raise this issue on humanitarian grounds,” Chaudhry Nisar maintained.

Making a veiled reference to former president Pervez Musharraf, Chaudhry Nisar said: “If the American administration can do nothing more against decisions of its courts, it should also respect decisions of our courts and hand over (at least) one man who has been declared an absconder by Pakistani courts.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2010.

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