Aafia family distances itself from ‘Aafia Brigade’

Karachi: The family of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui here Friday distanced itself from an ‘Aafia Brigade’.

A statement issued here said the family of Dr Aafia is very distraught at a disturbing news items regarding a socalled Aafia Brigade. It said once again, terrorists, murderers and kidnappers have chosen to hide their crimes behind the name Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. “Not the woman. Not the mother. Not the sister. Not the daughter. Not the kind and tender heart…. Just her name.”

The family denies all connections to such acts of outrageous violence. “We believe in a struggle that is peaceful and dignified. Associating Aafia’s name with acts of violence is against everything we are struggling for,” said Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui, Dr. Aafia’s sister. She said now some people will make their own claims about what Aafia thinks and with whom she associates. The reality and facts don’t even get a mention.

She said again we want to set the record straight. “We are Aafia’s family. We are speaking for her. With every atom of our hearts and souls we condemn evil, and we pray to God that the sufferings of the victims are eased just as we pray for Aafia.”

She said in the fall of 2010, after being sentenced to eighty six years in prison for a crime she did not commit, Aafia spoke to the public for only the second time since she and her three small children were kidnapped by Pakistani agents and turned over to representatives of the United States government in 2003.

She spoke of forgiving the judge, and the people who had wronged her, and asked that no violence be done in her name. Recently members of alQaeda made statements demanding her freedom. Similarly Algeria and now TTP None of them had mentioned her before. Never when she was suffering in Afghanistan, nor when the Quran was being desiccated and she was being beaten. They just didn’t care. Why this sudden sympathy for Aafia now Do they hope that by associating her name with their acts of violence they hope to borrow Aafia’s moral stature as their own, making this their claim as the leaders of the Muslim World

Dr Fowzia said because Aafia has become the litmus test for who is for and who is against Pakistan, its honor and dignity, such forces wish to use it. Every time movement for her return home shows a positive outcome these forces like her exhusband, agency touts emerge from out of nowhere and try to influence public opinion. Well times have changed people are not blind not to see the pattern. This indiscriminate campaign of murder and mayhem has disgusted all but the tiniest minority. The war On / Of terror has failed, whether it is bomb blasts or drones or extrajudicial kidnappings it is wrong.

She said cases like Aafia’s generate great support and emotional involvement because the suffering she has endured can’t be ignored. Her story touches anyone with a conscience and those are the emotions that extremists like to exploit. At the time of the Algerian incident we had issued a statement: “One tragic result of this event is that once opportunists have committed violence in her name a taboo will have been broken and we will see more of this as some people lose faith in our appeal to reason. We condemn violence. It is abhorrent to us. It violates everything we have been taught by our parents, God, and his prophets.”

Dr Fowzia said those of us who know and love Aafia can tell you that she would be distraught if she knew that there are people bragging about this murder and mayhem and using her name to justify it. She would also be praying for the victims and their families. Aafia is one of too many people around the world who understands the toll that injustice demands from all of us.