By: Azam Tanoli
ISLAMABAD – The pressure developed by British journalist Yvonne Ridley-led civil society’s campaign for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqi forced Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to phone Dr. Aafia’s mother and assure her of government’s full support for the release of her daughter from the US prison.
Dr. Fozia, Aafia’s sister, when contacted confirmed the news but showed her disappointment regarding government’s assurances and efforts. “I have been receiving such phone calls for the last eight years including the ones from Interior Minister Rehman Malik but Aafia and her little daughter Mariam are yet to be released,” she said.
She further said that they even did not know where Mariam had been kept and this thing had further added to the family’s turmoil. She was of the view that Pakistani government and Pakistani embassy in the US were reluctant to talk with the US officials on this issue.
She conveyed a message to the rulers, “USA Secretary of States is coming to extend friendship ties. What friendship? Do friends humiliate and torture their friends’ daughter? Do friends bask in the bloodshed of their friends’ brothers? Tell her if she does not return daughter of our nation, there will be no friendship.”
It is pertinent to mention here that a British Muslim journalist Yvonne Ridley in collaboration with many other civil societies and human rights organisations in the US including Embassy International, American Civil Liberty Union, Pak US Freedom Forum and Pakistan American Congress launched a massive awareness campaign from 20th October 2009 to highlight the plight of Dr. Aafia in the US prison.
According to details, Ridley and Asma Bajwa of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf with the help of these collaborators would organise different programmes to address the misconceptions and rumours regarding Dr. Aafia being floated by the US media. The programmes would be held in more than 8 major states of the US.
It is relevant to mention here that Pakistani community in the US staged several protests against the criminal silence of Pakistani Embassy in the US over a serious matter of concern.
Source: The Nation