You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pakistan demands immediate repatriation of Dr. Afia

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's parliament Thursday demanded the immediate repatriation of a female scientist Afia Siddiqui held in the United States on charges of trying to kill US officials in Afghanistan, officials said.

A resolution moved by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and adopted unanimously by the lower house also demanded immediate information on the whereabouts of Afia Siddiqui's three children, they said.

Siddiqui, 36, disappeared from the Pakistani port city of Karachi in 2003 and featured on a list of US suspects linked to Al-Qaeda the following year.

Parliament's move comes amid outrage in Pakistan over her arrest after members of her family insisted that the US-educated Siddiqui was innocent and accused US forces of secretly holding her for the last five years.

The house called upon the government to "take up the matter with the US government urgently to provide her necessary medical attention including hospitalisation and regular access to Pakistan embassy officials."

It demanded her "immediate repatriation."

Siddiqui, who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was arrested on July 17 in Afghanistan, extradited to New York on August 4 and indicted the next day on a charge of attempted murder.

She was wounded during an alleged shootout with FBI agents and US military officers when she was questioned in Afghanistan. A US court put her in medical care. She was on a 2004 US list of suspects linked to Al-Qaeda.