US promises to review Dr Aafia Siddiqui imprisonment

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ISLAMABAD: Washington has promised to look into a request made by Islamabad to review Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s detention in view of respecting her human and legal rights.

Pakistan has been raising the issue with the United States on a regular basis, the Foreign Office said on Wednesday.

Siddiqui has been behind bars since 2010 on charges of attempted murder and mounting an assault on US military personnel and is serving an 86-year sentence at the Federal Medical Centre, Carswell, Fort Worth in Texas.

The issue was also raised by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in yesterday’s meeting with US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells.

“Pakistan’s Consul General in Houston Ayesha Farooqui regularly visits Siddiqui to inquire on her wellbeing, as well as, to convey any of her messages to family,” the FO statement read.

Qureshi is also set to meet Siddiqui’s sister in Islamabad soon.
Yesterday, Siddiqui had penned a letter addressed to Prime Minister Imran Khan pleading her innocence and calling for him to help in her release.

The Foreign Office sources had confirmed that Siddiqui gave the letter to Farooqui when she had come to visit her at the correctional facility in October.

“You [Imran] have always lent your support to my release in the past, You have also always remained by hero,” the letter read.

Meanwhile, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells has underscored the importance of all actors in the region takings steps to advance security, stability, and cooperation in South Asia, and welcomed the commitment from Pakistani officials to work towards this goal.

This was stated in an official statement issued by the US Embassy in Islamabad on Wednesday.

According to the statement, Alice Wells visited Islamabad November 6-7, to review key items on our bilateral agenda, including the upcoming Geneva Conference on Afghanistan and joint efforts to advance the Afghan peace process.

Ambassador Wells met with Minister of Finance Asad Umer, senior officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Interior, and Director General Military Operations Nauman Zakria. Ambassador Wells reaffirmed the goal expressed by both Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Qureshi to build a mutually-beneficial relationship based on trust.

Ambassador Wells also discussed opportunities to build business and economic ties between the United States and Pakistan, and explored other areas for growth in our bilateral relationship.

Ambassador Wells also met think tank representatives, regional security experts, and members of civil society. She highlighted the United States’ commitment to work collaboratively to advance the shared goals of the American and Pakistani people. – NNI