ISLAMABAD - Handing down its verdict in Dr Aafia case, Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday directed the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to expedite its efforts for an early repatriation of Pakistani born American neuroscientist detained in a US prison on the charge of attempting to kill an American soldier.
Disposing a petition filed by a senior lawyer, Barrister Javed Iqbal Jafferi against the arrest and extradition of Dr Aafia, a one-judge bench of IHC chaired by Justice Mohammad Munir Piracha also directed the authorities concerned to raise the issue of missing children of the detained scientist in United Nations.
The petitioner had sought repatriation of Aafia and recovery of her missing children under Article 199 of the Constitution shortly after she was produced in a US court on charges of snatching a rifle from US soldier and hurting him by firing from the same weapon at an American detention centre in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Aafia's production in US court in August last year created ripples as she was missing from Karachi since 2004 hours after she left her mother's residence for coming to Islamabad along with her two children.
Barrister Javed Iqbal Jafferi blamed the local authorities for frisking away Aafia from Karachi at the behest of Americans and illegally handing her over to US FBI operatives on suspicion of being linked to Al-Qaeda.
On August 5, the FBI suddenly produced Dr Siddiqui in a New York court to charge her for having links with Al-Qaeda and shooting at US officers in Afghanistan.
The neuroscientist had, however, refuted the charges in court and complained to the judge that she was subjected to third degree tactics by the detaining authorities during captivity.
In the judgement, the court has further directed the government through Foreign Ministry to take all possible measures through diplomatic channels to solve Aafia's issue and if no solution was found then it should consider the prospects of filing reference in the United Nations.
The IHC also ruled in the verdict that Interior and Foreign Ministries filed their comments under the directives of court and stated that the responsibility of the matter rested with Foreign Ministry.
Foreign Ministry told the court that the US was contacted after the report about kidnapping of Dr Aafia Siddiqui came to public.
Subsequently, the American authorities told Islamabad that Dr Aafia Siddiqui was arrested from city of Ghazni in Afghanistan and later she was shifted to the US.
She was charged with carrying out attacks on US troops.
But the Pakistani Government remained worried about the detention of Pakistani doctor Aafia Siddiqui and was striving hard for her repatriation to Pakistan, the court recalled.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 10-Mar-2009 here.