islamabad - The Islamabad High Court yesterday issued notices to Prime Minister Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Interior Ministry in a petition seeking Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s release.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Noor-ul-Haq N Qureshi issued notices to the respondents and directed them to submit their reply within one week.

Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist, is serving an 86-year prison sentence in the United States for alleged attack on the US soldiers in Afghanistan.

Advocate Sajid Qureshi and Barrister Zulfiqar Ali, counsels for the petitioner, appeared before the court and contended that neither any reply has been received from the government nor any regular hearing of the case has taken place. They also filed a miscellaneous petition in the court for early hearing of the case.

Justice Qureshi remarked that case is of sensitive nature. He directed the counsel to complete his arguments next week. The court also admitted the miscellaneous petition of early hearing and adjourned the proceedings till the next week.

The petition was filed by Dr Fouzia Siddiqui, sister of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, taking the plea that no contact could be made with her sister Dr Aafia Siddiqui despite lapse of over 2 years and the family members should be informed about her health condition.

She adopted that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should take up the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui with the US president and hold special talk with him to secure her release.

In the petition, Dr Fauzia’s counsel adopted that at the time when Nawaz Sharif was not the prime minister, he had written a letter to the then Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, asking him to take steps for the release of Aafia.

Now, the petitioner requested that the court may direct the Premier to raise the issue of Aafia’s release with President Obama and Obama’s permission should be sought for grant of access to Aafia’s council.

Advocate Sajid added that permission for Aafia’s family to meet the imprisoned doctor should also be sought.

Aafia Siddiqui studied at Boston’s prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and did PhD in neuroscience at Brandeis University. In early 2003, during the Afghanistan war she came back to Pakistan. In March 2003, she was reportedly named as a courier and financier for al Qaeda by Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and was placed on a “wanted for questioning” list by the American FBI.

According to the US court papers, she was carrying two kilograms sodium cyanide hidden in moisturiser bottles, along with plans for chemical weapons and New York’s Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building.

The Afghans handed her to US forces who began questioning her. During her interrogation she grabbed a rifle and opened fire, according to witnesses, at the US agents while screaming “Death to America” and “I want to kill Americans.”

From Afghanistan, Siddiqui was put on trial in the US and sentenced in 2010 for 86 years for attempted murder — and not for any al Qaeda links.

Earlier, in 2008, Barrister Javed Iqbal Jafri had also filed petition in the IHC for the extradition of Aafia. The IHC at that time disposed of the petition with the direction to the government to provide legal assistance to Aafia.