Karachi, Aug 6 : Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, the sister of Dr Aafia Siddiqui who was reportedly arrested in Afghanistan on terror charges and extradited to the US this earlier week, has alleged that the latter was detained and tortured for five years in Afghanistan, thereby contradicting the US claims that she was arrested only a few weeks ago.
Besides Dr Fauzia, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has also levelled the same allegation.
Accompanied by HRCP's Iqbal Haider, Dr Fauzia maintained that her sister was innocent and that no charges had been proven against her since she was picked up in 2003 from Karachi with her three children.
Dr Aafia has been accused of having links to Al Qaeda. She is being tried in the US on charges of shooting at US agents while in detention in Afghanistan.
"We have submitted a petition to the prime minister and president of Pakistan and the Senate for her release but nobody has given us any response," Dr Fauzia said, adding that when Aafia was first arrested, they were not even aware if she was alive. They were only later informed that she was injured.
"In 2003, I went with my mother to Boston, where we met FBI officials who assured us that she would soon be released," she said, rejecting FBI claims that Aafia was a chemicals expert, reported the Daily Times.
She further said that Dr Aafia specialised in the psychiatric treatment of children with special needs. "If the US government could not prove any charges in the last five years, how are they accusing Aafia now," she said and demanded that her teenage nephew be released as well.
On the occasion, Haider also said that Dr Aafia was detained in 2003 and the US authorities could not prove a single allegation over this course of time. "This is a mockery of justice," he said, and added "With it, the US government is promoting terrorism."
"If Aafia was carrying chemicals or liquids then why didn't the US government prosecute the case in 2003.......what stopped them from doing so," he asked.
Haider also rejected the FBI's report that Aafia married Ali Abdul Al Aziz Ali, who is a member of Al Qaeda. He said that as she was already married with three children, how could she marry another person?
In a statement issued on the occasion, the HRCP said: "With the US finally admitting custody of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, one of the most brutal cases of the suppression of individual freedom, has begun to unravel. Public pressure has at last compelled the US to admit that Dr Aafia is in its custody. While the Pakistani government has belatedly begun to admit that it had some responsibility towards Dr Aafia, it has a lot of explaining to do as to who had been detaining her and where she has been since she was picked up from Karachi in 2003 along with her three children."
To say that she was taken into custody only on July 21, 2008 is a blatant lie, as transparently ugly as any falsehood can be, the HRCP statement said and added: "The insinuation, that she had been hiding herself since 2003, is a travesty of the truth, an affront to people's common sense."