IHC seeks from govt details of steps it could take for Dr Aafia’s release
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The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday ordered the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to arrange a meeting between its lawyer and Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui, sister of Pakistan’s neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who is currently serving prison term in the USA on terrorism charges, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
During the hearing of the petition filed by Dr. Fowzia for her sister’s release, Justice Sardar Ijaz Ishaq of the court also directed the government to inform what measures it could take on the diplomatic front to secure the release of Dr. Aafia.
Speaking on the occasion, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry told the court that the government of Pakistan was yet to receive copy of the US court’s decision of 2010 in which it had sentenced her to 86 years behind bars.
Justice Ishaq remarked it was strange that the US had not yet sent copy of the court’s verdict to the government of Pakistan.
The judge asked the spokesman whether the ministry considered Dr. Aafia’s case as its own or her private matter.
The spokesman informed that the neuroscientist’s lawyer in the USA had appealed to the government for clemency for his client.
He went on to say that the US government had given two options to Pakistan in 2010. “One was that Pakistan should sign the Council of Europe’s international convention on prisoners’ exchange. And the second was that Pakistan should sign a bilateral agreement with the USA on the subject,” he elaborated.
The spokesman informed that the federal cabinet had approved the agreement in 2013, while the Council of Europe had rejected Pakistan’s request in 2014.
Dr. Fowzia told the court that the council had rejected the request because at that time capital punishment was not banned in the country.
She disclosed that right now only the petition for reducing Afia’s prison term was pending in the US court for which the government needed to expedite its
The IHC then adjourned hearing of the case until September 28, 2022.
Reporter: Ehtisham Kiyani