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NGOs infighting stalls hearing of Dr Aafia’s case

KARACHI: Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s repatriation case could not be heard in the Sindh High Court on Thursday because of infighting among the petitioner non-governmental organisations.

Three NGOs have filed petitions challenging Dr Aafia’s continued incarceration and prosecution in the United States in spite of her failing health and alleged innocence inferred from the circumstances of the case. The first to approach the court was ‘Human Rights Network’ of Intikhab Alam Suri. Dr Aafia’s sister, Ms Fauzia Siddiqui, attended one of the hearings.

An equally little known ‘Amity International’ is the second petitioner. The latest addition to the list of petitioners is Advocate Nisar A. Mujahid’s Human Rights and Civil Liberties Society.

The last petition was heard by a division bench consisting of Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Karim Khan Agha on March 24 and it called for comments from the respondent federal government by April 15. At the petitioner’s request, the bench also ordered that other petitions on the subject to be tagged together for a consolidated hearing.

Mr Suri, meanwhile, moved an urgent application for the hearing of his petition. The respondent ministry has already submitted its comments in the petition, saying that efforts were being made for Dr Aafia’s repatriation. The application could not be heard on Wednesday and was taken up be a division bench comprising Justices Gulzar Ahmed and Malik Muhammad Aqil after court hours in chamber on Thursday.

Claiming to represent the other two petitioner NGOs, Advocate Mujahid informed the bench that one of the petitions could not be heard out of turn as all petitions were fixed for April 15. After looking into the record, the bench asked Mr Suri to seek an amendment in the March 24 order if he wanted early hearing of his petition.

Dr Aafia’s mother, Mst Tasneem Siddiqui has, meanwhile, moved the Islamabad High Court for the same relief and the court had sought comments from the ministries concerned.
Source: Dawn

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