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Aafia case: IHC upbraids ministry over delay in reply

ISLAMABAD, Sept 9: The Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday took notice of a delay by the ministry of interior in submitting its reply in a case about Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

After the court proceedings, the ministry’s additional secretary Zareef Abbasi sought pardon and Chief Justice Sardar Mohammad Aslam said that the respondent (secretary of the ministry) had failed to file his reply.

“Ask the secretary interior to explain as to why he has failed to reply in this court, in spite of direction.”

He ordered that the secretary should depute a person “well conversant with the fact of the case to enter appearance tomorrow”.

The case related to a habeas corpus filed by Barrister Syed Iqbal Jaffree.

The petitioner accused the government of kidnapping Dr Aafia and later handing her over to the US government.

The court had issued notices in the case and directed the ministry to submit its reply.

Mr Abbasi submitted the reply with the deputy registrar of the IHC.

He said the security situation in the country had caused the delay in submitting the reply.

“We are in contact with the American State Department regarding the release of Dr Aafia and we have asked them to depute a doctor for the treatment of the lady,” he said.

The US government had assured the government that a doctor would be assigned to treat Dr Aafia, the reply said.

Barrister Jafree filed another writ petition requesting the court to direct the government to ask the US government to extradite Dr Aafia to Pakistan.

He said the US government had signed a treaty with Pakistan in 1959 under which the United States was bound to extradite a person at the request of Pakistan. Otherwise, the petition said, Pakistan should go to the International Court of Justice.

According to Dr Aafia’s family, she was arrested from Karachi on March 30, 2003 from outside her house and was taken to Afghanistan from where she was sent to the US.
Source: Dawn
Date:9/10/2008

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