Country observes ‘Protest Day’ against Dr Aafia’s penalty
Thousands of people hold protest demonstration across the country to mark the ‘Protest Day’ being observed against the sentence of Dr Aafia, Dunya News reported on Friday.
Demonstrators in Lahore, Peshawar, Multan and other cities staged protests and took out rallies to demand the government to halt the implementation of Aafia’s prison sentence. A large number of students from different universities and colleges participated in the demonstration. Protesters burnt tires on Lower Mall road and blocked traffic.
Meanwhile, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that the government would take every possible step to ensure Dr Aafia’s safe return.
A US federal court in Manhattan has sentenced Pakistani neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui 86 years of imprisonment in 7 charges.
Aafia Siddiqui, 38, was sentenced in US District Court in Manhattan by Judge Richard M. Berman, who said “significant incarceration is appropriate.” “Don’t get angry,” Siddiqui said in court to her supporters after the sentence was announced. “Forgive Judge Berman.” Berman responded, saying: “I wish more defendants would feel the way that you do.” Dr. Afia said that she didn’t want any Muslims or Pakistani’s to shed blood behind her name.
After the US court’s decision, Dr. Aafia’s sister Fauzia Siddiqui said that Aafia movement would be launched soon and Dr. Aafia would be brought back to Pakistan. She said that Aafia was forced to admit that she was not tortured in the prison.
A jury convicted the Dr Aafia in February of trying to kill US agents and military officers after she was detained by police in Afghanistan in 2008. During Siddiqui’s three-week trial, FBI agents and US soldiers testified that when they went to interrogate Siddiqui, she snatched an unattended assault rifle and shot at them while yelling, ”Death to Americans!”
Her conviction touched off protests in Pakistan. There were more protests as hundreds chanted ”Free Aafia!” at a rally in Karachi, while others demonstrated outside the Manhattan courthouse.
Earlier, Interior Minister Rehman Malik sent a letter on Saturday to the United States Attorney General calling for repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan.
Senator Talha Mehmood has said that Pakistan government did not take keen interest in Dr Aafia’a case. He was talking to media outside the Parliament House on Friday. He said had the government put pressure on the US government it would have released the unfortunate women for the former have vested interest in the country.