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No formal request ever made by Pak for Dr Aafia’s repatriation, says lawyer

Karachi, Sept. 19 (ANI): Despite claims by all political parties in Pakistan, no formal request has ever been made to the U.S. authorities for Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s repatriation, U.S. Senator Mike Gravel and the latter’s attorney Tina Foster have claimed.

Gravel and Foster of the International Justice Network further said that the Musharraf regime had illegally kidnapped Dr Aafia along with her three children from Karachi in March 2003, and handed her over to the U.S. government for illegal interrogation and secret detention based on completely false information, reports The Express Tribune.

Gravel, a former member of the U.S. Congress and a presidential candidate who ran against President Obama in 2008, maintained that Dr Aafia’s trial in the U.S. was illegal. He added that the U.S. government had no moral or legal justification for their actions.

He said the Pakistani government would have to take serious action if it wanted Dr Siddiqi to be repatriated.

“We have received no cooperation from the Government of Pakistan in securing Dr Siddiqui’s repatriation to Pakistan. There’s been a lot of talk, but no concrete steps have been taken despite numerous requests for assistance,” said Foster.

“I’ve come on a humanitarian mission to ask Pakistani leadership for its assistance in returning Dr Aafia to Pakistan. It’s obvious that the will of the Pakistani people is being ignored by their leadership,” she said, adding that the U.S. government will not unilaterally release Dr Aafia unless it is pressured to do so by Pakistan.

“Dr Aafia is not a U.S. citizen, so the U.S. government should not be left to determine her fate, she should be returned to Pakistan so that she can begin to recover from the horrible torture and abuse that she has suffered,” said Gravel.

Dr Aafia, a neuroscientist by profession and a graduate of MIT, allegedly went missing for five years before she was discovered in Afghanistan. The prosecution says that she tried to fire on a U.S. soldier during her interrogation. She has also been accused of working for Al-Qaeda.

A New York court sentenced her to 86 years in prison in 2010. (ANI)