Imprisoned Dr. Aafia Siddiqui turns 43 today
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s birthday is to be marked by political parties, human rights organizations, labour and educational bodies in Pakistan by arranging and organizing various events. To show support and solidarity with Aafia, cakes will be cut, caged birds will be freed and special prayers for her health, long life and honourable release will be offered.
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was born in Karachi and later left for the United States to pursue her studies there. Coming from a reputable family, her mother was an ex member of Parliament in Pakistan whereas her father underwent training to be a doctor in UK. She earned a degree in neuroscience at Massachusetts from Brandeis University.
Aafia was questioned by FBI over purchases of around $6,000 she made which consisted of night vision goggles and body armour. This led to suspicion among American authorities that she was a terrorist who was collecting funds for terrorist organizations. After her divorce from her first husband in 2001, Aafia allegedly married Ammar al-Baluchi, nephew of terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Aafia disappeared in 2003 and was later discovered to be in the custody of American authorities. She was accused of disarming an American soldier and pointing a gun towards his head as well as carrying information on paper about terrorist plots and chemical weapons.
Aafia’s pictures depicting her frail condition and details regarding the atrocities being committed with her in the United States prison set off a chain of angry reactions back home in Pakistan. She became a symbol of respect and defiance of the sole superpower in the world, United States. Scores of Pakistani political parties, human rights organizations and the public in general, protested against Aafia Siddiqui’s imprisonment. Prominent political parties as well as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have all vowed to bring her back to Pakistan yet the government of the United States seems adamant on keeping her behind bars. Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in jail by a court in Manhattan when she was found guilty of attempting to kill an American soldier.