Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Hospitality Suite at APPNA Moot
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Muslim Legal Funds of America (MLFA) and Pakistan American Democratic Forum (PADF) held the Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Hospitality Suite on July 3rd and 4 th at the San Francisco Marriot Hotel. The hospitality suite, aimed at highlighting the tragic case of Dr. Aafia, coincided with the annual convention of the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA).

Dr Aafia, a Pakistani neuroscientist , is in custody facing charges of an alleged attempt to shoot American personnel in Afghanistan. She appeared in a New York court on July 6 and denied that she had shot anybody. "I did not shoot anybody. I didn't fire any bullets," she told US District Judge Richard Berman.

The hospitality suite was visited by a number of people including Member National Assembly Makhdum Javed Hashmi, Advocate Ather Minallah, and Dr. Sajjad Burki from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party. The PADF volunteers distributed leaflets and information material about the case of Dr. Aafia.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Zahid Imran, President, Association of Physicians for Justice & Democracy (APPJD), said that from the legal point of view one has to take Dr Aafia’s case very seriously. “We have to contradict the negative propaganda of her case here as well as in Pakistan.”

Dr . Mohammad Ashraf Toor, President of the Pakistan American National Alliance (PANA), briefed the audience on Dr. Aafia’s disappearance story.

Mohammad Siddiqui, Dr. Aafia’s brother, said that nobody knows the real story of Dr. Aafia and even she herself may not know it. He said two of her children are US citizen and one (infant) is a Pakistani who is presumed dead. He said, “We want an investigation into the circumstances of her disappearance.”

Khaleel Meek, President of the Muslim Legal Fund of America, which is raising funds for the legal defense of Dr. Aafia, said that America is a nation where the law reigns supreme: trial by jury is the highest privilege that the people have. This is a noble American tradition.

Makhdum Javed Hashmi said that he had spoken about the case to the Pakistani Ambassador to the US, Hussein Haqqani, who told him that the government is making efforts to facilitate her repatriation to Pakistan. Hashmi said that he had also spoken to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani, in this regard and he had said precisely what Ambassador Haqqani had stated.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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