KARACHI - Aafia Movement Pakistan leader Dr Fowzia Siddiqui has appealed to the masses to observe October 19 as international prayer day for Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

In a statement here on Saturday, she appealed to prayer leaders, religious leaders and the masses to observe the day as a prayer day. She said that now there was a new hope for repatriation of Aafia after recent developments in the US. She said the nation should also pray for guidance of Pakistani rulers and that may God give them courage and bravery to tackle this issue wisely.

She said that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during his recent visit to the US called Dr Aafia Siddiqui as daughter of the nation and expressed the determination of his government to bring her back home. She said in the past the rulers missed many opportunities to seek repatriation of Aafia. She hoped that the PTI government would not miss this opportunity now.

Dr Fowzia said the supporters of Aafia from the entire world, including America, Europe, Asia and South Africa, have been contacting her family in connection with the Aafia prayer day.

She said in many countries, including Pakistan, special prayers have already been started for the release of Aafia. She said recently the children of a seminary of Malaysia, Jamia Maadarat al-Islami Kuala Lumpur, completed a Khatam of Surah Yaseen and prayed for the release of Aafia. She said the Pakistani teacher of this seminary, Qari Faizullah, told on telephone that on October 15 during the Central Tableegi Ijtima of Kuala Lumpur special prayers would be offered for release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

However, Dr Fowzia has already started meetings with noted religious and political personalities of Pakistan in connection with the prayer day.

The supporters of Aafia Movement inside and outside the country are very much excited and they are sending letters and handbills to the mosque administrations and prayer leaders. They are also contacting them on telephone and meeting them individually and requesting them to arrange special prayers for Aafia on October 19 after Friday prayers. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said a few days ago the government was trying its best to bring Dr Aafia Siddiqui back to Pakistan. “Despite the fact that governments must take stock of legalities, we are trying our best to bring her [Dr Siddiqui] back,” he was quoted by a Pakistani news channels as saying. Speaking to the media in Multan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader said that the newly-elected government fully understands the despair of Dr Siddiqui’s family in this protracted ordeal.

 He, however, said that legal requirements for her release must also be taken into account.