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Obama can pardon Dr Aafia under special powers, moot told

27 August, 2012

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KARACHI: Relations between Pakistan and the US could be strengthened through repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui. Sentence to Dr Aafia Siddiqui was quite injustice, so she should be freed.

This was stated by former US attorney general Ramsey Clark while addressing as the guest of honour at a seminar entitled 'Due Process and Equal Justice: The Tragic Case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui', organised at a local hotel by the Aafia Movement on Sunday.

He said that indeed sentence to Dr Aafia was not an issue of crime, but was a matter of international power politics. He said that she was subjected to injustice and vowed that he would raise his voice for Dr Aafia's repatriation. He said that Dr Aafia was an innocent, energetic Pakistani scientist. He said that he would pursue the issue in the US and would demand her release.

He also hailed the role of lawyers, particularly in their movement for restoration of judiciary. He said that he trusted in Pakistani lawyers and stressed the need of struggle for peace and justice.

Former chief justice of Pakistan Justice (r) Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui, while expressing his views said that sentence to Dr Aafia was murder of justice. He said, "Enough is enough, chief justices of both countries would have to take sou motto notice of the issue, so as to resolve it immediately.

He asked Clark: "Is it not violation of international laws that a Pakistani citizen was detained from homeland and crime was blamed on her in Afghanistan after his abduction from her homeland and then sentenced in the US."

Clark affirmed that it was an open violation of the international laws and regretted that the US violated the rules.

Noted human rights activist Senator Iqbal Haider said that there should be an end to victimising Dr Aafia. He was of the view that US would have to free Dr Aafia.

Commenting on the war on terror, he said that Pakistani is not only a major shareholder of the war, but was also a major sufferer as well. He said that about 80,000 people and above 8000 Pakistani soldiers have laid their lives in the war. He also urged to eliminate the root causes of terrorism.

He pleaded Clark to tell the US government what was being done in Pakistan. Haider raised the point that article two of the constitution of the US gives unlimited powers to the US president to grant pardon to individuals.

He said, "I appeal president Obama, to grant pardon to Dr Aafia under his special powers for the sake of humanity, justice and peace."

Justice (r) Rasheed Rizvi said that enforced disappearance of Dr Aafia was a cruel practice being witnessed across the globe. He said that first of all, sovereignty of Pakistan was breached publicly, when Aemal Kansi was arrested from Pakistan and was brought to the US. He said that during the tenure of former president Gen Pervez Musharraf the series was on its peak and even Musharraf openly confessed that he sold out a number of Pakistanis to the US.

Talking about the case of Dr Aafia, he said that he remained astonished when he came to know that the defense council pleaded the judges for sentence of 12 years for Dr Aafia. He said that the defense council was imposed on him and his request to judge was enough to know about the clarity of the case. He said that to fulfill the requirements of justice, Dr Aafia should be released immediately.

Former attorney general Anwer Mansoor said that judgment of Dr Aafia's case shocked entire judicial circles. He termed the judgment as brutal and cruel.

Talking about the details of the case, he said that there were a number of contradictions in the statements of witnesses, while indeed there was no valid witness. He said that dew process was bluntly neglected in the case. An innocent girl was sentenced for 86 years in solitary confinement for attempting to murder trained soldiers, when she was in their captivity. He termed the judgment as question mark on the US judicial system.

Shamem Kazmi, renowned workingwomen's activist, raised several question marks for the panelists. She raised the question that how many women were sentenced for 86 years in the US. She said that the recent spree of injustice, surfaced after 911 increased significant hatred against the US among the global community.

On the occasion, a few documentaries on life, speeches and achievements of Dr Aafia and comments of several international lawyers, politicians and human rights activists over the sentenced to Dr Aafia were screened.

'Dr Aafia was victimised by international politics for power'

"Dr Aafia Siddiqui was victimised by the international politics being played for power. I haven't witnessed such bare injustice in my entire career."

This was stated by former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, who called on Dr Aafia's mother and children at their residence in Karachi. The ex-attorney general s aid, "Neither did Dr Aafia kill anyone, nor did she attempt at. In fact she was shot thrice and should be released immediately." Clark said that he first visited Pakistan when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was under trial and he wanted to assist him.

"This time around, I have come to express my sympathies for Dr Aafia," he said. Clark expressed his intention to gather people in America, for a one-point agenda of Dr Aafia's repatriation. "Significant peace and justice activists will join me in promoting this agenda," he added.

He further said that from nuke attacks on Japan to drone strikes in Pakistan, all was unjust and crafted out of sheer madness. On being asked about the idea of Dr Shakeel Afridi being exchanged with Dr Aafia, he said that justice was not something to be bargained or exchanged.

"Under the law, justice should be provided to each and everyone without any condition," he said, adding although international powers deal this way, it is against the spirit of justice.

Clark hailed the role of Pakistani people and particularly lawyers, saying that the nation's voice on state level could play a significant role in Dr Aafia's repatriation. He vowed that he would raise his voice for her repatriation at all levels in the US.


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