ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Monday dismissed the petition of Dr Fowzia Siddiqui, seeking issuance of directions to bring back her sister Dr Aafia Siddiqui from the United States so that she could serve her remaining sentence in Pakistan.
While dismissing the petition, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, heading a three-judge bench, remarked the top court could do nothing in this regard.
When the hearing of the case commenced, the chief justice observed the matter was taken up only to know if Dr Aafia was alive or otherwise, adding the foreign ministry had replied and it was learnt that she was alive.
The chief justice questioned under what law the Supreme Court could interfere in the matter and issue directions to the United States. He observed the court could not issue directions to an independent country.
The chief justice further observed what sanctity of Pakistan’s top court would remain in case the United States did not comply with its directions.
Dr Fowzia pleaded before the bench that this court could issue directions to the US authorities for repatriation of Dr Aafia.
The chief justice responded he knew what directions he could issue. He, however, observed the aggrieved could approach the United States’ courts for relief. Following this, Dr Fauzia left the rostrum with tearful eyes.
Last week, Pakistan Consul General Aisha Farooqui stated that she had visited Dr Aafia at the Federal Medical Centre in Carswell, Texas.
The consul general in a report had claimed that Dr Aafia was not only physically and mentally tortured but also she was subjected to sexual abuse.
The report had recommended diplomatic authorities to take up the case at the highest level to find a way for her repatriation where her privacy would not be interfered with.
Dr Fowzia’s petition had prayed for directions to the government to declare a moratorium on prisoner transfer to the US unless Dr Aafia was returned.
The petition had sought implementation of the top court’s May 20, 2010, direction and formulation of comprehensive policy to protect the fundamental rights of Pakistani prisoners detained abroad.
On May 20, 2010, the top court had directed the federal government to make vigorous efforts and arrangements to provide all necessary assistance, including legal aid and payment of fines, for securing the release and repatriation of the Pakistani nationals detained abroad.
It had also directed the federal government to set up a special cell in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and a special inter-ministerial committee at joint secretary level to deal with these issues on the most expeditious basis.
“Every time the USA takes or demands its murderers and spies and mercenaries, the Pakistan government makes some way to release them while the daughter of the nation (Aafia) remains into illegal custody, which has deeply damaged the morale of the entire nation and shattered trust of the people of Pakistan in these institutions,” the petition had said.
The instant petition stated the government, instead of complying with the directions to formulate a comprehensive policy, only drafted guidelines for streamlining the institutional mechanism on securing release and repatriation of the Pakistanis detained abroad, which have no force of law and just an artificial cover.
“The Pakistanis detained in foreign jails are in thousands, especially in the Middle East, and are in deplorable condition for lack of assistance and lack of concern of the Pakistani missions and consulates. Dr Aafia Siddiqui like many other imprisoned Muslims abroad is being treated with brutality and without mental or physical respect,” the petition had contended.
The petition had requested the top court to direct the government for ratification of treaties on the transfer of sentenced persons or the Inter-American Convention on the criminals serving sentences abroad in order to repatriate Dr Aafia and other Pakistani prisoners to the homeland safely.
It had further requested the top court to issue directions to the government to sign a bilateral agreement with the US to transfer Dr Aafia Siddiqui and other Pakistani prisoners to a Pakistani prison.