Dr Aafia — when will we stop playing to the gallery?

Published: October 5, 2010
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The writer is a PML-Q MNA 
marvi.memon@tribune.com.pk

The writer is a PML-Q MNA [email protected]

It is so easy to follow the popular mood of the country. But it is so morally wrong to do so, if one knows it is based on a lie. That was my dilemma last week. Having heard plenty of evidence corroborating Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s alleged links to CIA and al Qaeda, from all those who had held important and relevant posts then and now, it became incumbent on me not to follow the herd. It became necessary for me to call a spade a spade and for that reason I was not part of the National Assembly walkout in her favour. Having said that, I have always maintained that she should be brought back to Pakistan and be tried here because she is a Pakistani, even though there are doubts that she may now have American nationality. Her trial in the US was far from fair with many human rights violations against her, but till allegations against her dangerous links are proven wrong she could not be called ‘qaum ki beti’. I also added that real leadership did not ‘cash in’ on wrong popular moods.

In the process I was targeted by certain vultures inside and outside my political party. I was the victim of a character assassination campaign and it reminded me of McCarthyism. This was the kind of bullying that scares most people. But I held my ground. I noticed that even though many people had not taken part in the walkout no one wanted to challenge the popular mood since they feared a public outcry. Each one of those vultures wanted to ‘use’ Dr Aafia to earn votes. The kind of labels that were tagged on me for those couple of days were unbelievable. Why? Simply because I challenged a cashing in strategy based on lies.

What is Pakistan losing as a result of this McCarthyism? It is losing the liberalist agenda to the jihadists. It is losing focus of what the real issues are — it is now clear that every single political party inside and outside parliament would rather take the popular course of action rather than the correct one. And that to me is the most distasteful truth of the current Pakistani political set-up. It means that we don’t have leaders. We have users.

Pakistan spent a key week holding rallies in support of Dr Aafia. During that time I didn’t see any huge rallies for real causes such as in support of the incredible new Kashmiri intifada standing up to human rights violations in Indian Kashmir. In the process we lost out on focusing on the miseries of flood victims.

The point is, do we set the agenda on haq or do we follow the wrong agenda? Pakistanis today have a choice. They can truly kick out the cowards and users and rally behind those fighting for haq. If not, then the future options for fixing the problems in Pakistan will be bleak. And yes, it takes courage to do correct agenda setting. But it is Pakistan’s only salvation. I am not in for a popularity contest. I am after ‘haq’, in which it is important to accept that certain choices made in the past may have been wrong. It is better to fix the wrong course of direction rather than to follow it for political expediency. That is the difference between ‘new politics’ and old politics.

Published in The Express Tribune October 6th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (70)

  • M.S.Shaikh
    Oct 5, 2010 - 11:09PM

    Dear Marvi Memon,
    Do we, as a nation, even know the TRUE facts about Dr. Siddiqi? This episode, along with the floods, has clearly shown that our nation is devoid of honest leadership, and hypocritical to the core. By the way, on a lighter note: when are you leaving the Q-league?! Wish you best of luck.Recommend

  • Waqar
    Oct 5, 2010 - 11:17PM

    Finally someone came has the courage to stay the truth…well done and keep up the good work..why doesnt any one checks the statements made by Dr Afia’s husband against her..Recommend

  • Oct 5, 2010 - 11:17PM

    New politics or old politics is still politics and the proof is in the pudding. “I was targeted by certain vultures inside and outside my political party” is the pudding where you can see Marvi Memon could not help but speak like a politician.

    First of all, If those who disagreed with her are ‘vultures,’ she would obviously count as the same to them.

    Secondly, in the process, she also helped us conclude it is difficult to take politicians as serious writers or thinkers, much less to take them as intellectuals.

    Other than that, I do, to some extant, like her stance on Aafia and her politicking, and I sure don’t count her among vultures…Recommend

  • shahid
    Oct 5, 2010 - 11:41PM

    welldone ma,m.for the first time i like what you said.this changes my opinion about you.yes we need honest young politicians.but i still hate the hypocrates you call (my party). i think you should leave them if you want to take part in honest politics.but please no imran khans and no musharaffs.Recommend

  • S. Ali Raza
    Oct 5, 2010 - 11:45PM

    @Marvi: Here you say that her links to terrorism are still not proven. But the case is closed and yes, they were not able to prove terrorism against her. But rather she was awarded the 86 based on the proof the Marines had so conveniently provided to the Judge with a seriously weak defense. I guess she is not left with much choices now, as it is she will die in her cell when the time comes. She may never get to meet with her2 children who are still not found or probably with the local or foreign ‘agencies’ working here.

    I am sure you have very valid reasons to believe she is a terrorist, and with Faisal Shehzad now being booked, we can also say that the sane, educated, well-to-do may also have started to turn insane and take up extremism. But I reiterate that there was not a single charge of confirmed against her prior to her time of allegedly picking up and handling the 3KG M4 assault rifle and shot at US Marines who were probably 2.5 times her own weight? Its a bit hard to believe this when there is no real/fair defense.

    Her sister has cleared she is not an American National, while she confirms that her children are US citizens because they were born there.

    Question is where was she before she made it to Afghanistan since her missing from 2003, and the most shocking part is that even the US courts were not able to prove that! Benefit of doubt?Recommend

  • Oct 6, 2010 - 12:15AM

    marvi:

    It is better to fix the wrong course of direction rather than to follow it for political expediency.

    well saidRecommend

  • Oct 6, 2010 - 12:25AM

    There is so much “I” in your writing, do you want a prize?Recommend

  • Saif M
    Oct 6, 2010 - 12:34AM

    @Ali Raza

    “*… allegedly picking up and handling the 3KG M4 assault rifle and shot at US Marines who were probably 2.5 times her own weight? *”

    She picked up the gun, not the marine. A tea kettle full of water weighs about the same. Therefore, picking up a 3 Kg gun is no unusual feat.

    The question no one seems to ask is why her family kept quiet when Ms. Aafia went missing from Karachi, in 2003? I guess, the truth in this case is stranger than the fiction.Recommend

  • Rehan Ali
    Oct 6, 2010 - 12:38AM

    Well done mam,keep up the good workRecommend

  • ADIL
    Oct 6, 2010 - 12:59AM

    i likeRecommend

  • Oct 6, 2010 - 1:14AM

    Couldnt agree with you more.Recommend

  • Arifq
    Oct 6, 2010 - 1:30AM

    Dear writer, I for one fully concur with your stand and wish you well, keep it up.

    One minor correction, replace the word McCarthyism with Fascism, may sound harsh but in reality Pakistan is being run as a fascist state that does not allow difference of opinion and there is a strong lobby that wishes to impose their views on the majority. Recommend

  • S. Ali Raza
    Oct 6, 2010 - 1:46AM

    @Nadir: she’s a politician, her writings if not supported with “I” will lead to the reader believing it as a party stance.

    @Saif: Why would she want to pick up the Marines? weren’t they trained, quicker, and able to grab a hold of the weapon from her before she could do harm.. oh and the court never found any finger prints on the rifle too :(Recommend

  • Syed
    Oct 6, 2010 - 1:50AM

    Agreed. Just as her trial appears dubious so too is Afia Siddiuqi. Her circumstances make her appear not so innocent.Recommend

  • Qamar Awan
    Oct 6, 2010 - 2:16AM

    This article is based on truth. As a common man I must think that if there were no charges with proof against Dr Afia, American would have taken her to Guantanamo Bay instead of mainland America.Recommend

  • Kmaran Ashraf
    Oct 6, 2010 - 5:06AM

    I’ve seen Ms Memon on various tv shows sporadically and she strikes me as someone who speaks her mind. I’ve been skeptical of this entire Afia episode from the start. There are too many unanswered questions. The intesity with which the americans have pursued her and the sentence itself makes one wonder if there is more to it than meets the eye. Despite of all the politically self serving rhetoric ( qaum ki beti etc) by various politicians and the conveniently timed moral outrage, she remains sentenced to 86 years of imprisonment on multiple charges. Now if these politicians really wanted to help her they would find a way to make a lucid and articulate argument in her defense and point out specifics about the “unjust” sentence. But all we hear is emotionally charged slogans and utterly meaningless demonstrations as if that will make that judge change his sentence. If our government was serious about “qaum ke betui”they would have pursued the matter discreetly but vigorously through diplomatic channels from day one. The trumpeting of this episode by the media and then the politicians may have helped their profiles with the people but accomplished zilch for Afia. If anything it forced the hand of the americans as they did not want to appear to be compromising their “high” legal ideals to appease anyone. As for Ms Memon, i hope she keeps raising her voice for what she believes to be Haq, even if it is unpopular, for that’s what free speech is about, And perhaps Ms Memon is also a “Qaum ki beti” that we should respect and honor, someone who has the courage of her convictions.Recommend

  • Raza shafique
    Oct 6, 2010 - 6:29AM

    yes Ms marvi i am little bit agree with you that you are raising a very good point. but Ms i want to say one thing that this is the tradition of our politics that it always based on some kind sentimental behaviors, as you know our government had just came due to the assassination of a Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto. people loved their leader and for that reason they have voted to to those people who were not eligible for any post. and in this case of Dr Afia, many people who have sense of politics know that they are just using the agenda of Dr Afia for up coming election. If they were really sincere with this struggle then Dr Afia might had in Pakistan before. but in end all in vain . i like ur thinking but please dont consider Dr Afia an agent without any evidence. you are political leader and if u will blame the people of your country then any other country can easily grasp them.Recommend

  • Oct 6, 2010 - 8:23AM

    Great Point of View.. :) Completely Agree with you.Recommend

  • Hamza Baloch
    Oct 6, 2010 - 9:21AM

    I dont know this dr afia episode.

    Even americans did not “punish” her for her “links with al-qaeda”, but still here writers are working to prove that he had links.

    About Kashmir issue, its becuse of pml-q and musheraf, that Pakistan lost to realtion with kashmiris… otherwise few years back we have holiays on “5th feb” like events.Recommend

  • Atif Khan
    Oct 6, 2010 - 9:34AM

    Very well written. Kudos to Marvi for standing her ground. Aafia case is just a fine example of how mature we as a nation are to jump on the conclusion without having any facts. Recommend

  • Asad M
    Oct 6, 2010 - 10:02AM

    i don’t agree with your oddity !
    your govt. along with musharaf handed over her to U.S. and therefore your demand of bringingg her back as a prisoner is bogus and a sheer hypocrisy. musharaf denies about her and so does your uncle shujaat. who handed over her to U.S. then? angles from the sky? or demons from the hell? o’ i see, she must be on a pleasure tour along with her kids to explore “incomparable tourists’ venues” in afghanistan where she got trapped. huh !
    why you have not spoken to hamid mir in his week past show, while he connected you 3 times and you replied “i am busy”. because you knew that you could not stand on this stance while speaking live to tv anchors to whom you call vultures now.
    writing such explanations is so easy. due to disgrace, you won’t be able to write even an apology if aafia is proved to be innocent in future, so its better to judge the degree of your stance.
    btw if aafia is not “qaum ki beti” then, who is? fortunately not you !Recommend

  • Malik Tabeer
    Oct 6, 2010 - 10:11AM

    Marvi im agreed and i solute you on being on right side of the history not on popular
    keep it up God bless you
    Malik Tabeer
    Boston,USARecommend

  • Patriot
    Oct 6, 2010 - 10:12AM

    Thank you Marvi for showing us there is some light in the curret political setup.

    @Hamza, does suffering a countrywide loss of billions by closing down business for one day in the name of Kashmir a big service to them? In Marvi’s govt days, Kashmir was being discussed in a much more “intelligent” manner than it is now. There has to be a creative solution to the problem…what happened after the month long intifada there in the valley recently…all is getting quiet. this cycle would continue for god knows how many decades as kashmir is more of an ego issue for both the countries. therefore the solution has to be the one acceptable to both parties without it being win-loose. Recommend

  • Oct 6, 2010 - 10:31AM

    A word of advice to Miss Marvi Memon, you have just exposed yourself. Even if Dr Affia is guilty of being affiliated with Alqaeda, the charges framed against her, on which she was convicted do not warrant such a harsh sentence. Remember Marvi your father was part of the government of Musharraf, who handed over thousands of Pakistanis, without following the mandatory judicial process required to hand over our nationals to a foreign country. I have no problem if she was found guilty by a Pakistani judge, which authorised her handover to a foreign country. This is a women, who should have served her sentence in Pakistan. What was the guilt of her children, who were also kept captive?. Can Marvi Memon answer this question. The problem with people running NGOs or relying on foreign funds, or having foreign nationalities, is that they are captive to their paymasters. After all the establishment in this country was responsible for creating the environment during Zia era, which created these Frankenstiens. Personally I think Dr Affia failed in her duty towards her children, for getting involved in this mess. May I remind Marvi Memon to assess the mild sentences handed over to American soldiers accussed of killing civilians and even raping them. This sentence is unduly harsh. Recommend

  • Nasir
    Oct 6, 2010 - 10:56AM

    Good for you! It’s about time we stopped glorifying Aafia….she might not deserve 86 years in prison but she sure as hell isn’t an innocent bystander either. Recommend

  • Nadeem Khan
    Oct 6, 2010 - 11:07AM

    Someone should ask this born-again champion of ‘haq’ where was her conscience when she stood firmly behind an illegal military usurper for years on end. During which time he kept the judiciary and their families in habeas corpus, shipped out citizens to Guantanamo without due process, and made noble remarks like ‘Pakistani women get raped in order to get Canadian immigration’. Of course she had never imagined that the tinpot dictator’s reign would one day end. She is an opportunist and a hypocrite. Recommend

  • Ghafar Ali
    Oct 6, 2010 - 11:15AM

    It seems from the article that Marvi’s definition of “Haq” is different from the one people know. She thinks that the US was on “haq” and dr Aafia was not on “haq’.

    If Marvi knows the truth about Aafia and she should know it, because she remained closed to dictator Musharraf who has sold Dr Aafia and other Pakistanis to America for dollars and Marvi might also got some share from the booty, she should share.

    Marvi’s claim that she is not in the popular race but she is definitly in the race for going on the top ranks of the the Western, American and anti-islamic forces’ buddies.

    I am confident in saying that Marvi would have in the forefront if Dr Aafia was disgraced in Pakistan but people like her lose the courage to raise voice for people unlawfully and brutally treated by their masters.Recommend

  • Oct 6, 2010 - 11:19AM

    Good bit of work, Marvi.Recommend

  • Shahryar Ahmed
    Oct 6, 2010 - 12:04PM

    Well said Ms. Memon.

    People here don’t understand that she is as guilty as Osama or Khalid Mohd. Sheikh, how would you ask? By association, why the media is not commenting on her relationship with Al-Qeada? She was married to a known member of the organization.

    If she was innocent, why didn’t she leave him, she is as guilty as possible because she is associated with those people who bomb my fellow countrymen & my soldiers. So I have no sympathy for her or her family.Recommend

  • Umar Hashmi
    Oct 6, 2010 - 12:22PM

    We should be doing the ‘right’ and ‘just’ things. If the evidence is so strong to award her a punishment, she should get it. However, if it is not, she should be treated like any other person would be.

    We must also ensure that all requirements for a fair justice are extended to her. Unfortunately, we see a lot of hick ups there which in turn make people think that perhaps she has been denied justice.

    We must bring her back. Irrespective of the fact if there exists a repatrition treaty between the US and Pakistan or not.Recommend

  • Shahzeb
    Oct 6, 2010 - 12:35PM

    Can not make an sense of what you are saying ? you seem confused . Any way I always try to call spade a spade too but you have not show us a spade here . Questions every one is asking are

    1- Why and how was taken from Pakistan to Afghanistan ?
    2- Did paki government know about her kidnapping and interogation ?
    3- What if she married to a cousin of 9/11 master mind ? what if she was even married to the master minds itself ? no linkage to 9/11 plot has been proved and not even tried for .

    any body in her situation kidnapped from country and harrased with no silver linning can do this to ones captors . This is one the facevalues shameful judgement for whole mankind .Recommend

  • Danish
    Oct 6, 2010 - 12:52PM

    Such a releif that we still have people in the assembly who can call a spade a spade. Well done Marvi, speaking the truth takes courage and you deserve all the praise for taking this stand. May Allah give you the ability to continue your pursuit of Haq. Ameen.Recommend

  • parvez
    Oct 6, 2010 - 12:57PM

    I am a big fan of yours. Your smart, tough, opinionated and say the right things but something is missing and I can’t put my finger on it. Possibly its my cynicism regarding all politicians that is causing this block. Possibly I feel that you too will not deliver, I hope I’m wrong.Recommend

  • Amna Zaman
    Oct 6, 2010 - 1:08PM

    This is surely a sensitive issue but we should abstain for harming the infrastructure of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Basit Marwat
    Oct 6, 2010 - 2:29PM

    Brilliant article Marvi Memon. You are a courageous woman and you should keep doing what is right rather than what is popular. Let people like Hamid Mir criticize you. Recommend

  • J
    Oct 6, 2010 - 3:31PM

    Very rightly stated Ms.Marvi, I couldn’t agree more. If we look at the recent history of CIA-trained ‘assets’ around the world, who have been used and discarded, we can add Dr.Afia’s name to the long list. Whether it was Saddam Hussein, Benazir Bhutto, Zia-ul-Haq, Osama bin Laden etc. each one of them have been used and conveniently eliminated/vilified after achieving a desired goal. It’s well-known that Dr.Afia’s case was pivotal in getting Musharraf removed, despite the dubious nature of her case and her arrest from Afghanistan. It was also surprising to me how her case suddenly died down as soon as Musharraf stepped down. Recommend

  • Asad M
    Oct 6, 2010 - 3:33PM

    i don’t agree with your oddity !
    your govt. along with musharaf handed over her to U.S. and therefore your demand of bringingg her back as a prisoner is bogus and a sheer hypocrisy. musharaf denies about her and so does your uncle shujaat. who handed over her to U.S. then? angles from the sky? or demons from the hell? o’ i see, she must be on a pleasure tour along with her kids to explore “incomparable tourists’ venues” in afghanistan where she got trapped.
    why you have not spoken to hamid mir in his week past show, while he connected you 3 times and you replied “i am busy”. because you knew that you could not stand on this stance while speaking live to tv anchors to whom you call vultures now.
    writing such explanations is so easy. due to disgrace, you won’t be able to write even an apology if aafia is proved to be innocent in future, so its better to judge the degree of your stance.
    btw if aafia is not “qaum ki beti” then, who is? fortunately not you !Recommend

  • Oct 6, 2010 - 3:48PM

    Aafia Siddiqui is a ‘dual’ – having joint Pakistani/American citizenship. Her three children are all American citizens. It is not clear whether the juvenile now living with her sister Fauzia in Karachi and said to have been verified as a child of AS by DNA, now also has Pakistan citizenship.Recommend

  • Emmad
    Oct 6, 2010 - 4:18PM

    I can sense that Marvi is trying to part her ways from PMLQ and moving towards the newly formed party of Musharaf. Lets wait and see.Recommend

  • Think Therefore
    Oct 6, 2010 - 5:12PM

    Marvi for PM!! but not with the chaudry’s and the land grabbing .. infact should we NRO with Marvi on joining that party in the first place… maybe we have to once more…. NRO NRO …. NRO all the way… oh what fun it is to ride in a headless broken state! (hummed to the tune of jingle bells)Recommend

  • Khalid Munir
    Oct 6, 2010 - 9:00PM

    Well done MarviRecommend

  • Oct 6, 2010 - 9:27PM

    Ms Memon,
    You say you are after The Haq, yet your columns continue to rehash damaging misinformation about Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
    Let’s nail a few of the myths you perpetuate. Aafia is not a US citizen, she has no terrorism connections or membership – both of these points were made in the trial by the judge and the prosecution. She never faced any terror charges.
    You somehow equate the support for Aafia as a support for extremism and jihadis. How dare you insult the million or so people who turned out and vented their anger at her sentencing recently. Christians marched alongside Muslims to show their outrage.
    You have implied previously that Dr Aafia’s family is a “Jamati, religious and Jihadi” family. is it wrong to be religious? then if so you have managed to demonise a billion or so Muslims, Christians and others of faith.
    Any “jihad” advocated by the family has involved struggling for the cause but maintaining dignity, peaceful means and self respect and avoiding anger and harm to people or property. Even Aafia, the supposed terrorist, in all her “outbursts” never sought revenge and always encouraged forgiveness. Surely Ms. Memon you can’t find these actions undesirable and threatening or extremist?
    You say that you are championing “liberal” thought. Is not fairness and justice a liberal concept? Is not national sovereignty a liberal concept? Is not freedom a liberal concept? Being a liberal is not easy because in order to be a true liberal you have, more often than not, to stand up for those who are not quite as liberal as yourself but they happen to be right.
    I wonder who guided your pen to write against Dr Aafia. The reason she has become such an emblem across the Muslim world, and not just in Pakistan, is that she has come to represent everything which is wrong with the now discredited War on Terror.
    She represents atleast 10,000 ghost detainees and The Disappeared. the drones represent illegal, extrajudicial killings and targetted assassinations which do away with trial by jury … that’s not very liberal, is it?
    Kashmir’s existence and continued defiance of the Kashmiris represents everything that has gone wrong with imperialism and empire.
    To tackle all intelligently, these should be linked rather than separated and the pressure increased collectively, not diffused and individually. Each crisis should not be a cause for division but increase unity.
    If you don’t take a firm stand on a small issue, the magnitude of attacks and crises will only increase. In this way, Aafia remains the simplest and somehow the most complicated issue.
    If you really are the intelligent and independent woman you claim to be perhaps you should revisit Dr Aafia’s case in an objective light … and beware of the so-called official narrative. The stories around Dr Aafia have changed by the weeks and months, but the turth is a constant and that has never changed.
    Dr Aafia Siddiqui, like Kashmir, like the War on Terror, like The drone attacks represents injustice in a world where might is right.
    That is why people mobilise and rally – when the people start to lead Ms Memon, the politicians should follow or they will become irrelevant.
    Yvonne Ridley,
    London, UKRecommend

  • tehmina tariq
    Oct 6, 2010 - 10:13PM

    Don’t we have more important things to focus on than Aafia? So much has been spent by the government on her or in her name. What about all the women who are denied justice in our own country? Women who are not allowed to marry of “free will”, those who are killed as ‘kari’, buried alive with full support of legislators, denied education?????

    If, as I believe, she held US nationality and was living there then I personally believe that our tax which is deducted at source had no business being used on her instead of health, education and improved infrastructure and justice of our own citizens.

    What hypocricy on our part, we don’t punish anyone for the most henious crimes, don’t provide any kind of justice and then demand it of other nations who at least have the will to protect their nation from potential teerrorists and are ready to give punishment as a deterent!
    News channels why dont you focus on more important issues in our own country instead of kicking up media frenzy over politicised issues???

    Tehmina. TariqRecommend

  • Oct 6, 2010 - 10:23PM

    thank you yvonne for the post here;

    If you really are the intelligent and independent woman you claim to be perhaps you should revisit Dr Aafia’s case in an objective light … and beware of the so-called official narrative.

    marvi i would look too your response hereRecommend

  • Oct 7, 2010 - 12:30AM

    @Tehmina – Clearly you have not focussed on Aafia’s case at all otherwise you would not have repeated the same mistake as those who are misinformed. Tehmina, how many times do I have to say this? Dr Aafia Siddiqui is NOT a US citizen. Judge Richard Berman made no less than two references to this in his final summing up during the trial according to the transcript I have.
    She was given consular access – eventually, after the US ignored and violated the Vienna Convention for three weeks – because she is a Pakistani citizen.Recommend

  • Oct 7, 2010 - 12:55AM

    Thank you Yvonne Ridley for stating the facts about what transpired during the trial of Dr Afia. The problem with pseudo intellectuals and liberals like Miss Marvi Memon is that they think, they alone are right and everybody else is wrong. People like her and her father supported a military dictator, who usurped the constituion, destroyed all institutions, promoted and protected corruption, imprisoned the Chief Justice of Pakistan, are today talking of HAQ. Miss Marvi you need to repent for your sins and start walking the talk, otherwise you might have to face the public wrath. Had Musharraf during his almost 9 years of illegitimate rule ensured that money allocated for building and strenghtening canals and embankments alongwith dams, the damage done by recent floods would have been far less. He destroyed Railways and PIA through rampant corruption. It was during his tenure that corruption was institutionalised and mega real estate scams occured without any fear of accountability. Agreed that this political government has failed to provide good governance and has also been involved in cronyism and corruption, but this does not absolve Musharraf and those who supported his 9 year rule.Recommend

  • Jasmine
    Oct 7, 2010 - 1:09AM

    @Yvonne Ridley what you keep mentioning again and again might be right. But for a second could you rewind back to 2001 when supposedly Ms. Aafia visited Liberia stayed there for a week and brought home some blood diamonds supposedly for funding some activities. What about her than husband buying night visions, armors etc and then they left the flat to some saudi’s who got a hefty amount of money transferred to them. How did a normal everyday lady get into the Radar of CIA/FBI etc etc .. was it because she was so well educated and a muslim? Why didnt they detain fauzia as well .. she was there working in a hospital as well .. she roams freely.. doesnt that seem strange to you ?
    And lastly the whole Muslim B.S. that you people keep coming up with . The family was living happily in America all expats working their .. Aafia always wanted to live in america and have her kids stay in america as well but her first husband wanted them to come back to Pakistan.
    Another thing which you completely Ignore is that a UNITED NATIONS led investigation led Aafia to be a suspect back in 2003 .. the informants in africa acknowledged her as being part of an Al-Qaeda group.. Even her lawyer at that time Sharp pleaded it could be a stolen identity (why do you people never mention that). How come Khalid SHeikh muhammad after a week he was caught gave her name in.. and she left her karachi house immediately for Islamabad. Would any normal person get to know of such information in the first place? I dont think so .. someone tipped her off and she ran..
    Things arent the way you have portrayed .. and its a shame that a balanced view about Aafia has not been available. Unfortunately you are the kind of a phenomena which our simple people tend to believe in naively .. Stop misinforming people .. Present some facts atleast.Recommend

  • Oct 7, 2010 - 2:30AM

    @ Jasmine – you want facts, here they are.

    Aafia was never charged with any terrorism offences. The references you made to conflict diamonds and Liberia was raised by the FBI and totally demolished by the astutue investigative work of ‘Boston legal’ eagle Elaine Whitfield Sharpe who discredited the fabircated story around Aafia.
    I have absolutely no idea why her husband bought night vision binoculars and I have no idea exactly what he told the FBI when they brought him in for questioning. All I know from what others have said is it must be a very frightening experience and some people have been intimidated in to making false statements about others to escape the grip of the FBI.
    How did a ‘normal, everyday Muslim lady’ get involved? If I could answer that I could tell you why more than 700 innocent men passed through Guantanamo since January 2002 – Donald Rumsfeld has since admitted that 95 per cent of those taken to Gitmo were completely innocent. Of course we know how many got there – they were sold for millions of dollars after being kidnapped and renditioned in Pakistan. How do I know this to be a fact? Why I read about it in General Pervez Musharraf (ret’d) book In The Line of Fire. He admitted it.
    And why did Khaled Sheikh Mohammed give her name. My dear, dear Jasmine, I would give your name darling if someone threatened to waterboard me … he was waterboarded 183 times and his two sons (aged 7 and 9 years old) were threatened with death if KSM didn’t tell the Americans what they wanted to hear. Did you know the CIA had those two children for six months before they arrested their father? Now Jasmine, ask yourself this, what wouldn’t you admit or sign should you be in those circumstances?
    I’ve been very patient with you jasmine but your sneering attitude towards the “simple people” of Pakistan makes my blood boil. Are you referring to those who marched in their hundreds of thousands in Karachi because they care about justice?
    Get off your snooty perch and start reading the facts surrounding this case and then acquaint yourself with the details of the 10,000 Disappeared in Pakistan. Justice is for everyone, not just the elite.
    Yvonne RidleyRecommend

  • Shahrukh Rao
    Oct 7, 2010 - 2:41AM

    I would like to highlight few basic points surrounding the case of Dr.Aafia (Daughter of Nation)

    First and foremost, irrespective of whether she is guilty or not, she is citizen of Pakistan not US, so there’s no point in her trial to be anywhere other Pakistan . Secondly, it seems unjustified to any sensible person that a woman who was once alleged to be Al-Qaeda operative, gets trial over such narrow circumstances of her capture – did she open fire on the US soldiers or not?
    Moreover,totally discounting her disappearance for around 5 years in the case and terming her guilty in the incident where she was herself shot seems ridiculous to any neutral reader.Her youngest son is still missing which is very disturbing for us all. It may be worth contrasting the positions of arm chair commentators from the investigative journalism of a British journalist Yvonne Ridley who risked her life by traveling to the scene of the so called crime to expose the absurdities of the allegations and highlight human rights violations.

    Undoubtedly, Aafia is the top story and voice which has touched every citizen in Pakistan right now. The columnists, both Urdu and English are now following the momentum and have no option but to comment. Same is true of political parties. But as readers, we don’t expect misinformation or poor journalism from anyone following the momentum whether due to emotions or lack of research.

    In nutshell,Kashmir Issue and floods are important and need due attention but it doesn’t mean that we should be devoid of citizenship rights here in PakistanRecommend

  • Shahrukh Rao
    Oct 7, 2010 - 2:49AM

    @Jasmine: You need to analyse the case from all sides and it shouldn’t be a copy-cat reproduction,obviously here in pakistan,we’re not unaware of any information surrounding the case which you referred,it just takes a search over google to know these things but to analyse,investigate and form a judgement,it takes an effort and its much needed at your side.Recommend

  • Shahzeb
    Oct 7, 2010 - 3:20AM

    It sad to see people supporting this column . Yes every one is entitled to have one but I just find it cruel to see this as an easy opportunity to get noticed by going against the mob and mob I believe is right at least in this case . All those who are saying she was involved in terrorism well thats not what she was punished for people . What she was infact charged with is something any one could end up doing . She was kidnapped !!!!!!Recommend

  • Pseudo
    Oct 7, 2010 - 10:50AM

    Yes she should’ve been tried in PK, where lawyers would be on strike or bumming around somewhere or making a fuss over some useless issue.Recommend

  • Malik Tabeer
    Oct 7, 2010 - 11:54AM

    @Jasmin ur fact seems to be true and make sense thank u for all that information Recommend

  • ali
    Oct 7, 2010 - 12:28PM

    ask molana taqi usmani sb about her(as he personally stop her going to jehad)_,second his husband will provide you full story.but no one is ready to speak and hear the truth.Recommend

  • Noman
    Oct 7, 2010 - 2:56PM

    It’s is the perfect example of

    “Guilty until proven innocent”

    Some desperate work to prove her innocence, as they are so many false, unproven allegation on her and so many brains working on fictional stories trying to fix here in , to hide their or their bosses’ Blunder. Recommend

  • Farooq Khan
    Oct 7, 2010 - 3:46PM

    @Ridley and Jasmine
    Jasmine beware. Ridley says her blood is boiling. When their blood boils they stone to death a Daughter of Pakistan, as seen in a recent video. Ridley is getting good publicity from this episode, she could have never got this in her own country. By the way Ridley when Afia left her home with three children, for airport to go to Islamabad, on which airline and flt their seats were booked. You are a journalist, please make some effort and try to find out if she had her booking or she was going to Islamabad in a taxi.Recommend

  • Oct 7, 2010 - 5:14PM

    @ Farooq Khan – you are indeed a silly, silly man. Of course I could never have generated publicity for Aafia in the UK, she is a Pakistani citizen, the alleged crime happened in Afghanistan and the trial took place in New York.

    @ Ali – we can all make bold statements hiding behind anonymous names. Women do not go off on jihad with a six month old baby in arms, and two toddlers. they even think twice before making a trip to the local shops as any mother would tell you. Name me any women who have gone off on jihad to Afghanistan with or without their family.
    I spent 10 uncomfortable days with the Taliban in Afghanistan as their prisoner. Let me tell you, they don’t like women and there were certainly none around the camp where I was held. All the cooking and cleaning ( some might think traditional female roles) was done by men.
    As for her ex-husband – I would like to hear his story but he’s never told it. he was put through a terrifying experience at the hands of the FBI long before Aafia was kidnapped in march 2003 – but he’s never spoken about that or the deals they tried to make with him. has it ever occurred to any of you he could be as much a victim in all of this? Whatever they said and did to him was enough to make him living in complete silence for more than five years.
    yvonneRecommend

  • Hasan
    Oct 7, 2010 - 8:17PM

    A cartoon appearing in a newspaper today depicts correctly what Ridley is doing;

    Cartoon

    Someone explain to Ridley what it means.Recommend

  • Imran
    Oct 7, 2010 - 9:16PM

    Ms. Memon,

    You are always on wrong side of history. You and your family enthusiastically supported dictatorship for long 10 years without any legal or moral justification. Now, you came forward to support your western masters on totally illegal, inhuman, unjust and most brutal verdict.

    I wish, may your eyes open so you could see the truth and reality, and look beyond your own interests.Recommend

  • Ashfaq
    Oct 7, 2010 - 9:32PM

    You heard plenty of evidences about alleged links of Dr Aafia with Al Qaeda and CIA from the people who were in control or yet in the positions. Should we believe your assumptions that Al Qaeda and CIA are in close coordination in the region? What do you think about 9/11 if Al Qaeda and CIA share the services of common agents!!!!!!!!!

    Glad to know that you are concerned about Kashmiri Intifada and flood miseries in the country and the Pakistanis should not waste their energies in arranging rallies for an AL Qaeda/CIA agent. Intifada and Jihad must be different in concept and we may see your enlightened thoughts on that. You may have to swallow this as bitter fact that most of the people arranging public rallies are those who have been at forefront of flood relief activities.

    You was one of the most vocal supporters of the regime who was at HAQ to hand over a women with three innocent children to USA. Everyone will be accountable for his words, deeds and influence on the day of judgement.Recommend

  • Sadia Hussain
    Oct 7, 2010 - 10:27PM

    Excellent write up by Marvi, The Afia narrative is being formulated by the apologists. Gulmina Bilal in her recent article articulated similar thoughts as she talked about dozens of Pakistani women who have faced worst of abuse but no one is willing to take up their cause. Are they any less of Pakistani? Or is it just Afia “Qaum ki Beti” ! for those interested refer to the article at http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\101\story1-10-2010pg3_4Recommend

  • Khan
    Oct 8, 2010 - 12:42AM

    PML-Q = turncoats.Recommend

  • Madeeha
    Oct 8, 2010 - 9:07AM

    When Mir Zafarullah Jamali was the PM and Musharraf was President.
    Mir Jamali asked Musharraf about Dr. Aafia.
    Musharraf told Mir Zafarullah Jamali to stay silent about Dr. Aafia:

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010%5C10%5C07%5Cstory7-10-2010pg7_24Recommend

  • Hira Mir
    Oct 8, 2010 - 1:22PM

    Another author Gulmina Bila pointed our some addition facts on this reality how hypocrisy if at its heights in this case. Here is the link this should be a good eye opener : http://criticalppp.com/archives/24724Recommend

  • Aristo
    Oct 8, 2010 - 1:29PM

    @Yvonne Ridley:

    Why did the US go after Dr. Afia in particular to begin with. Why not other hundred thousands of Muslim women in the US or the West. Why would the sole super power of the World pick on an innocent feeble mother of six month old as you stated. All we want to know is the facts, if you are aware of them, please share.Recommend

  • Oct 8, 2010 - 4:00PM

    @ Aristo – I wish I could give you that answer. It is something ex-Guantanamo detainees Moazzam Begg, Omar Deghayes and Feroz Abbasi ask themselves every day: Why me? Donald Rumsfeld now accepts that 95 per cent of the people taken to Gitmo were innocent – and let’s remember that the majority were not picked up off a battlefield. they were kidnapped and renditioned just like Dr Aafia Siddiqui and her three children.
    Why me? Is a question Binyam Mohammed asks himself everyday when he considers his torture and rendition to some of the darkest secret prisons including Morrocco, Guantanamo and Bagram. I’m sure Binyam also asked: “Why her?” When he saw Dr Aafia Siddiqui being tortured and abused by US soldiers in Bagram.
    There are more facts which will come out in due course – until then we have to keep an open mind and pray that there are no more Dr Aafia Siddiquis hidden away in secret dungeons.
    Yvonne RidleyRecommend

  • Chairman of the Bored
    Oct 8, 2010 - 6:00PM

    Ms Ridley, a clarification before my question lest I provoke any outrage. I am simply looking to know as much as I can about the case.

    Question: Was Dr Siddiqui married to Ammar al-Baluchi before her disappearance in 2003?Recommend

  • Oct 8, 2010 - 7:54PM

    Just as well I am not borted with answering the same questions.

    No, Aafia was not married to Baluchi, neither is there any documentation to support this other than from tortured souls and mischevious US intelligence agents. But at the end of the day, how many of us have black sheep and dodgy cousins in our families? Does that mean because we marry someone who has a cousin who is a villain that we all suddenly become villains? Ha, there’s a few people in this forum that certainly would not want to be painted with the same tarred brush as their cousins … and you know who you are.
    The next big question is Aafia’s citizenship. She is a Pakistani through and through and was set on developing her career in islamabad. her enemies, or those trying to muddy waters, say she is a US citizen. Two of her children are US citizens.
    And the third big lie is her affiliation to any banned organisations. The opening line of the prosecution was that Dr Siddiqui was not a member of al Qaida or any banned or terrorist organisation.
    I hope I haven’t bored you too much.
    YR
    Recommend

  • Oct 8, 2010 - 10:00PM

    paging the indefatigable marvi to respond to yvonne pleaseRecommend

  • Madeeha
    Oct 10, 2010 - 3:06PM

    Interview (In URDU) Of Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali (Former PM of Pakistan).
    He says that Musharraf told him to keep silent about dr. Aafia.

    Part 1: (Start Listening from 6min till end)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jn5LrmXqto

    Part 2: ( Start listening from start till 3min)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pqWfcMK9LMRecommend

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