Malik seeks Aafia’s repatriation on humanitarian grounds
WASHINGTON: Interior Minister Rehman Malik has appealed to the US Administration to repatriate jailed Pakistani neuro-scientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to her home country on humanitarian grounds.
Malik, who met several top American officials, said that he cited the plight of Aafia’s ailing mother and the adverse impact of years of separation on her children who intensely want to meet her and want her back in the country.
“I raised the issue with the full force of Pakistani people’s emotions, let us hope the request is considered sympathetically,” he told Washington-based Pakistani journalists on Friday evening.
Malik met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Director FBI Robert Mueller and US Special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman.
“One way to deal with the situation resulting from Aafia’s imprisonment here,” he suggested, “could be that she be allowed to complete rest of her sentencing in Pakistan.”
But he dismissed the notion that there could be a trade-off that Aafia be repatriated in exchange for release of Dr. Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani, who worked for CIA in hunt for Osama bin Laden, and had been jailed by a tribal court for his links to militant organizations.
“These are two totally different cases,” Rehman Malik remarked.
In response to a question, he said Afridi’s first duty was to his country and if he had access to any information he should have shared it with the Pakistani government.
The interior minister also said Pakistani authorities are thoroughly probing to ascertain full details of Dr Afridi’s activities and motives.