Interior Ministry Report on Dr Aafia’s Extradition

* Court orders petitioner to make foreign minister respondent in case

By Masood Rehman

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday directed the petitioner to make the Foreign Ministry respondent and adjourned for two weeks the hearing on a petition regarding the alleged extradition of Dr Aafia Siddiqui from Pakistan to the United States.

Interior Ministry Joint Secretary Shahidullah Baig produced a four-page report on the issue, telling Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Aslam that the ministry was concerned with the law and order situation in the country, and that it therefore took time to submit the report.

Baig said the case was mainly related to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, which he said should also be made respondent.

The court directed the petitioner, Barrister M Javed Jafferi, to submit another application for making the Foreign Ministry respondent. The chief justice observed that the issue had only been unearthed by the Western media and that there was nothing was on the record.

On a submission of the petitioner, Baig said the Interior Ministry had not received his other pleas and without examining them it could not respond. The court directed both parties to exchange copies of required documents.

Jafferi argued that the US government signed a treaty with Pakistan in 1959 under which the US was bound to extradite a person at the request of Pakistan. Otherwise, he said, Pakistan should go to the International Court of Justice.

The four-page report stated that the Interior Ministry was in contact with the US State Department about the release of Dr Aafia and her children. He said the ministry had also asked the US to organise a doctor for her treatment, adding that the US government had agreed to this.

The report said the Pakistani embassy in Washington had taken up the issue with the US authorities, adding that the ministry had also taken up the case with the US embassy in Islamabad. Dr Aafia is being provided with a consular and legal facilities, the report said.

The report contained a summary of incidents, which led to Aafia’s extradition to the US from the Ghazni province of Afghanistan.

Jafferi had alleged in the petition that Aafia was extradited to the US on charges of shooting at US soldiers while in detention in Afghanistan. He said Aafia was kept in inhuman conditions in Brooklyn Detention Centre in the US and was interrogated by the American authorities. He alleged that she was arrested by Pakistani intelligence agencies some four years ago from Karachi and handed over to US intelligence agents. He said Aafia’s extradition was in violation of the country’s constitution and international human rights laws.

www.dailytimes.com.pk

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