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Dr Aafia’s release: Treaty document barring govt access to ICJ sought

LAHORE: Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday asked the federal government to produce the treaty document under which Pakistan could not move the International Court of Justice (ICJ) without prior permission of the US.

The judge issued this direction while hearing a petition seeking action against the Pakistani government for not approaching the ICJ to get Dr Aafia released and recovered.

Earlier, a deputy attorney-general, Naveed Inayat Malik, reiterated before the court that the government could not approach the ICJ on its own for Dr Aafia’s release. He claimed the Pakistani government was in an agreement with the US which restricted it from doing so.

The DAG also reiterated his stance that Dr Aafia was held by US forces from Afghanistan, and Pakistan had no role in her arrest and extradition.

Whereas Dr Aafia’s sister Fouzia Siddiqui on the previous hearing had maintained before the court that the previous government had handed Aafia over to the US after nabbing her from Karachi.

She had said Dr Aafia was arrested from Karachi on March 30, 2003, along with her three children, and was taken to Afghanistan for her transportation to the US.

Ms Siddiqui had demanded the government should approach the ICJ to defend Dr Aafia as she had no hope of justice from US courts.

The petition was filed by Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffree, submitting that the court had earlier directed the government to take action for the release and repatriation of Dr Aafia, but it did not comply with court orders.

He said the court had also asked the government to move the ICJ for the release of Dr Aafia, but the government failed to do so.

Barrister Iqbal said the government engaged a panel of US lawyers against a hefty fee for contesting Aafia’s case but did not bother to move the ICJ which cost nothing.

He sought initiation of contempt proceedings against the respondents for defying court orders. Next hearing will held on Jan 18.

Source: Dawn

Date:1/13/2010

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