Altaf urges govt action to secure Aafia’s release
KARACHI: Condemning the sentencing of Dr Aafia Siddiqui by a US court, Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain called upon the president, prime minister and the federal cabinet on Tuesday to use diplomatic channels and take all possible measures to secure her release.
Addressing over telephone from London rallies organised by MQM in cities and towns across the country, Mr Hussain severely criticised what he called the ‘unjust verdict’ and said: “Why an innocent woman has been given such a harsh sentence… and what was her offence? I ask the US government to explain and justify her conviction.”
The MQM held the rallies to express solidarity with Dr Aafia, described by Mr Hussain as ‘daughter of the nation’.
In Karachi, hundreds of thousands of people, including women and children, converged on the main M.A. Jinnah Road amid strict security arrangements. It was attended by representatives of different political and religious parties, minority communities and scholars of different schools of thought. The roads section from the Quaid’s mausoleum to Tibet Centre was jam-packed with workers and supporters of the MQM.
They carried tri-coloured MQM flags, placards and portraits of Dr Aafia and raised slogans, urging the US government to set aside her sentence and release her unconditionally.
Mr Hussain said Dr Aafia was convicted of fake and concocted charges, adding that the nation was unaware of the allegations levelled against her in the US court.
Referring to Iraq, he said the US had attacked that country and killed hundreds of thousands of people on the pretext that it possessed weapons of mass destruction. “Now that all accusation had proved to be false, will the champions of international peace and justice bring the US to justice for its aggression… who is responsible for this massacre… had Aafia Siddiqui attacked Iraq and committed atrocities?”
The MQM chief said that although mentally Dr Aafia was strong, physically she was not capable of attacking an American solider. He termed her conviction the worst violation of human rights in the history of the world.