Let this mom go!

THE mysterious case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a US-educated neuroscientist who worked for several years with the hallowed Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Bostono, is perhaps the most bizarre ever to emerge from Bush's war on terror.

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Thu 7 Aug 2008, 9:51 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:55 PM

The 36-year old mom went missing with her three kids five years ago as she was visiting her parents in Karachi. And now the US officials claim Siddiqui was captured by the Afghan authorities outside the provincial governor's compound in the city of Ghazni on July 17 in "suspicious circumstances". And subsequently, we are told, Siddiqui attacked a team of US soldiers and FBI officials with a rifle conveniently placed next to her at the Afghan police station where she was being held.

As cock-and-bull stories go, this must take the cake! The Afghan and US officials peddling this incredible yarn could have at least employed more imagination and ingenuity. How do they expect the world, and people of Pakistan, to buy this bunkum?

If Dr Siddiqui is indeed an Al Qaeda terrorist and has links to the top leadership of the outfit, why hadn't she been presented before a court of law all this while? And where had she been all these years while her family had been desperately looking for her, constantly pleading with the Pakistani authorities?

And how did she turn up in distant Ghazni in Afghanistan while she was supposed to be visiting her parents in Karachi? Also, where are her three young children? Have they joined Al Qaeda ranks too? We wouldn't be surprised if they have been consigned to the big hellhole called the Guantanamo Bay, that is, if they are alive which hardly looks likely now. Or who knows, they might even turn up in the same mysterious fashion as their distraught mom did planning a suicide mission somewhere in Afghanistan. There are so many holes in this tale that the Air Force One could pass through them.

The case of Dr Siddiqui is yet another example how in their zeal to fight terror, the US authorities are not only undermining the democratic ideals and values that inspired America's founding fathers but they are also trampling on everything that the world has come to view as sacrosanct, from the rule of law to human rights to fair trial.

If the US and Afghan authorities have betrayed a shockingly callous attitude to human rights and the rule of law in this case, the Pakistani authorities are guilty of not doing enough to protect their vulnerable citizens like Dr Siddiqui, even after her case came to light. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says Dr Siddiqui's case is only a tip of the iceberg. It argues there are hundreds of such innocents in US detention in Bagram airbase in Afghanistan and the Guantanamo Bay. It is time to let them all go, Mr Bush, including Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

More news from