A New York court’s decision to sentence Pakistani neuro-scientist Aafia Siddiqui with 86 years of imprisonment for shooting at U. S. soldiers in Afghanistan has triggered outrage across the country with protesters taking to the streets in many places.
Though the verdict came in around 10 p.m., protesters were up in arms in several cities of the country even as the American-educated neuro-scientist’s mother and sister were on television venting their anger at the American justice system.
Many, in effect, hold the Pakistan government to blame for the fate that has befallen Dr. Siddiqui – who first went missing along with her three children in 2003. It is widely believed here that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-educated neuro-scientist was handed over to the U. S. by Pakistan because of her alleged links with the Al-Qaeda.
Human rights organizations took up her case when it became evident that she had been held for years in Baghram base in Afghanistan as 'Prisoner No. 650'.
Hours before the verdict was out, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit pointed out that Pakistan had been tapping diplomatic, political and legal channels to bring her back. ``We are exploring what else can be done. The Interior Minister has written a letter to the Deputy Assistant Attorney General Seeking repatriation of Dr. Siddiqui. There are several options available. Rest assured the Government will spare no effort in this case.’’