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SHC issues notices in Aafia case

By Tahir Siddiqui

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday put the federal cabinet, foreign and interior secretaries on notice in a contempt of court application filed against them for flouting the SHC`s order in three identical petitions seeking directions to the federal government and its ministries and departments to move US authorities for return of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

The SHC in May 2009 had disposed of the petitions of the Human Rights Network, Amity International and Human Rights and Civil Liberties Society of Pakistan with a direction to the federal government to provide legal assistance to Dr Aafia Siddiqui and submit a report about the efforts being made by the government for her repatriation and the recovery of her two missing children within 45 days.

On Friday, Advocates Nisar A. Mujahid and Iqbal Aqeel prayed to the court to issue contempt of court notices to the federal secretaries as they did not comply with the court orders.

A division bench, headed by Justice Mohammad Athar Saeed, adjourned the hearing of the contempt of court application to March 16.

In its order, the SHC had earlier directed the federal government to instruct the Pakistan Embassy in Washington to appoint a senior officer as a liaison officer with the legal team assigned to conduct the case of Dr Siddiqui.

The court had also ordered that expeditious efforts be made by using diplomatic sources and agencies to trace her two missing children and directed the federal law officer to “submit a report within 45 days before the MIT [Member Inspection Team] as to what steps have been taken by the government in compliance of court`s order” and “if direction is not complied [with], contempt proceedings, if any, will be taken by court against them”.

Source: Dawn