KARACHI – For the past several years, I have urged Pakistani authorities to take action to repatriate my client, Dr Aafia Siddiqui, to Pakistan. However, despite repeated inquiries, I have never received any substantive response to my suggestions. Therefore, I am writing this open letter directly to you, said Tina Foster, Attorney for Dr Aafia.

She said this in an open letter to President Zardari. The letter reads, “Mr President, with the hope that it will no longer continue to fall on deaf ears, At a public appearance last week, you stated that your government was unable to repatriate Dr Aafia because Pakistan lacks a prisoner transfer treaty with the United States. But Pakistan could easily become a signatory to either the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, or the Organisation of American States’ Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad. The ratification of such a treaty would enter into force after only 30 days and would allow Dr Aafia to be legally repatriated to Pakistan immediately.”

“On behalf of Dr Aafia, I urge your government to sign on to one of these treaties without delay. Even without a formal treaty in effect, Dr Aafia could be repatriated at any point based on an informal or ad hoc agreement between Pakistan and the United. As recently as August 2012, the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Hoagland, stated that though the US and Pakistan do not currently have a formal agreement for the exchange of prisoners, “everything is possible in this world, if the will exists.”

“However, as Ambassador Hoagland pointed out, Pakistan has not even taken the initial step of requesting Dr Aafia’s repatriation from the United States. You could easily rectify this, Mr President, by writing a letter to President Obama today - asking that Dr Siddiqui be immediately repatriated to Pakistan. Finally, Mr President, unless and until Dr Aafia returns home to Pakistan, I urge your government to adopt a moratorium on prisoner transfers to the United States. Given the extreme crimes and ongoing injustices perpetrated by the US government against Dr Aafia, your government’s refusal to transfer prisoners to the US custody would be an appropriate response until the daughter of the nation is returned.”