Jirga demands state-level interventions for Aafia release

KARACHI: A Grand National Jirga here in front of the Mausoleum of the father of the nation on Sunday unanimously demanded from the State of Pakistan to make urgent interventions for the release and repatriation of the daughter of the nation, Dr Aafia Siddiqui. A large number of political, social and civil society leaders attended the moot arranged by Aafia Movement.

Addressing the Jirga, ex-Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice (retired) Wajihuddin Siddiqui said that politicians when they are not in government make tall claims, but forget them when coming in power. He said Aafia is not alone but the whole Pakistani nation backs her. He said this Jirga today has adopted a landmark Karachi Declaration and the government should act upon its important recommendations. He reminded that when the women and children of the Arab traders were imprisoned by the sea pirates near the coast of Sindh the then ruler Hujjaj bin Yusuf had sent an army led by Mohammad bin Qasim to secure their release. He regretted that 12 years had passed and we have done nothing for the daughter of the nation. He said when the CIA agent Raymond Davis was arrested for killing Pakistan citizens we released him in a shameful manner, instead of swapping him for Aafia release.

Justice Wajih said in the war on terror we sated one billion dollars and 50000 precious lives. He said today the soldiers of NATO are leaving Afghanistan and we are providing them security cover. He said this is height of government apathy regarding forgetting its national interests. He said for the release of Dr Aafia we have to tell the real facts to American people and their intelligence agencies to create a public support for the release of Aafia in the US. He said the allegation levelled on Dr Aafia seems farce as no an American soldier was even hurt in the so-called attack. He said Aafia was kidnapped from Pakistan and attacked occurred in Afghanistan that was under the control of NATO; however, Aafia was convicted under the US laws! He said it is sad that no Pakistani is allowed to visit Aafia and it is the worst violation of human rights. He said due to this we cannot know if she is dead or alive.

Justice Wajih said that our legal system should take action, and Pakistani masses should shake the government that is fast asleep on this vital national issue. He said more than 125000 people from the different parts of the world had signed a petition to President Obama and appealed for the release of Aafia, but the American President seems not impressed. He said, however, Dr Aafia is not alone and the whole nation is with her. He said the National Jirga demands from the government of Pakistan to knock the door of United States and the International Criminal Court.

Aafia Movement leader Dr Fowzia Siddiqui said this National Jirga has already given a verdict in the shape of the Karachi Declaration. She said she was proud that the whole nation supported the cause of Aafia. She said the nation would no more tolerate this disgrace that the daughter of the nation is still imprisoned abroad. She said she was proud that the nation that made this National Jirga a big success. She regretted that the rulers showed their traditional apathy and lack of courage and did not discharge their responsibilities. They wasted several opportunities for the release of Aafia. They preferred the US dollars to the nation pride and lowered the head of nation in shame and disgraced the national flag. She said now time has come that demands of the release of Aafia should come from every home.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader MNA Muzammil Qureshi said the government should fulfil the promise of Aafia release and take immediate efforts. He said efforts should be taken on diplomatic and humanitarian grounds. He said as the nation has joined at one platform against terrorism, it should also be united for the release of Aafia Siddiqui.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) general secretary Iqbal Zaffar Jhagra said Aafia is the daughter of the nation and her release is our collective responsibility. He said we would take utmost efforts for securing her early release and repatriation. Noted scholar Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi said the release of Aafia is necessary from the Islamic point of view. She said Aafia has reminded the great sacrifices of the Muslim women of early Islamic history. He said Aafia is braving a huge punishment for the weakness of Pakistani nation.

Pakistan Bar Council Member Yaseen Azad Advocate said when a foreigner is convicted in Pakistan he is release and sent home in special planers, but the government is not taking any effort for the release of the innocent Aafia. He said however, he was saying a ray of hope for early release of Aafia. Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Pakistan Naib Amir and president Milli Yakjehti Council Sindh Asadullah Bhutto said all political parties should join hands for the release of Aafia. He said it is the responsibility of the government to take all-out steps in this regard. PML-N central voice president Saleem Zia, Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf Women Wing leader Nazia Rabbani, Salima Waheed Murad, Human Rights of Pakistan leader Asad Iqbal Butt, trade leader Atiq Mir, Pasban President Altaf Shakoor also spoke.

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