Letter to Ambassador Wajid Shamsul Hassan: The Abuse, Trial and Conviction of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui
34-36 Lowndes Square
20th February 2010
Re: The Abuse, Trial and Conviction of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui
Dear Ambassador Wajid Shamsul Hassan,
We write in utter disgust over the horrific abuse and sham trial of our sister, the scientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, under the hand of the US government. We also write in anger and dismay over the criminal inaction and complicity of the Zardari leadership over her case and that of hundreds of other innocent Muslims detained illegally by Pakistani and American security forces.
As you are of course aware, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was extradited from Pakistan to the US in 2008, faced trial in an American court, and was convicted on Wednesday 3rd February 2010 of attempted murder for shooting at US officers during an interrogation in Ghazni, Afghanistan. She may face life in prison.
It is widely believed that Dr. Siddiqui and her three children were abducted by Pakistani intelligence in March 2003 and handed over by the Musharraf government to the Americans as part of this ‘War on Terror’ in exchange for continued US financial support. In the 5 years that followed, many human rights organisations have reported that she was held at the US base in Bagram, Afghanistan, and suffered horrendous torture and rape that left her mentally scarred. She is now a mere shadow of her former self. It is also believed that her three children were taken into custody and even to this day, the whereabouts of the younger two remains unknown. Dr. Aafia is yet another human tragedy of this ‘War on Terror’.
Her conviction followed a sham of a trial where the prosecution could provide no forensic evidence to prove their case, where prosecution witnesses provided contradictory evidences, and where prosecution lawyers presented a sensationalist, jury fear-mongering case hinged upon alleged terrorism involvement while Dr. Aafia was on trial for attempted murder. Even her lawyer, Elaine Sharp, commented, "This verdict is based on fear, not on fact."
Despite the obvious innocence of this sister, you have accepted her extradition to the US, accepted for her to be tried in this ‘kangaroo’ American court, and accepted her conviction that resulted from this ‘circus’ of trial. While thousands of Muslims on the streets of Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, and Quetta demonstrated in outrage over the abuse and conviction of Dr. Aafia, the best that your government could do was to issue a feeble worded statement from your Washington Embassy, so obviously struggling to express any criticism of your US masters, saying “We are dismayed over the unexpected verdict of the jury in Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s case”.
We have raised this issue in the community, and the Muslims are rightfully appalled and saddened that a sister of our Ummah could be treated this way. You should be aware, that the Ummah of Rasul Allah (saw) are not sleeping. Do you expect the Ummah to believe that you were oblivious to the horrific acts of torture that this sister has endured? Do you think that we are oblivious to the lies that you conjure up in order to protect the US in their treacherous campaign against this Ummah? Musharraf may have sold Dr. Aafia but the Zardari government has abandoned her for a fist full of dollars.
The duplicity of the US is well known. Muslim women are repulsed but not shocked at the treatment of Dr. Aafia by the democratic American apparatus. We do not expect justice from them. The US that you befriend and defend, has gained notoriety for abductions, secret detention, and torture to secure political aims. That democratic system that you admire so and aspire to emulate, preaches human rights, the rule of law, and women’s rights, but are perfectly content to abandon these values for their own when interests dictate. However, it is not them, but you who have been entrusted with the welfare, the lives, and the honour of the Muslims of Pakistan. But you have trodden upon that honour and sacrificed their lives for a cheap price.
It is well-known that Dr. Aafia is only one of hundreds of Pakistani citizens, handed over by the Musharraf and now the Zardari government as sacrificial offerings to the US in return for a flow of dollars into the country. Some have been children as young as 9 or 10. HRCP estimate that atleast 600 people have disappeared in Balochistan alone, picked up by the Pakistani or US security services as part of this “War on Terror” abduction scheme. Some Baloch groups put the number in the 1000’s.
Furthermore, you have offered up our bases for US covert intelligence black operations which have led to chaos throughout the country. You have accepted US drone attacks on the country and forced Muslim to fight Muslim in the wars in SWAT and Waziristan that has led to the death of hundreds of civilians. You have tied us into the degrading and humiliating Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act which does nothing less than attempt to subjugate Pakistan, and further enslave her to the US. You have pushed the country to the brink of destruction.
Do you feel no shame in having surrendered your judicial process, economics, politics, and military to the US? What kind of leadership is willing to barter the honour of one of its daughters for a handful of dollars or bow its head in submission while a foreign state fearlessly detains, tortures and extradites its own citizens? How can you remain muted while three young children are torn from their mother’s arms and continue to be silent about the fact that the whereabouts of 2 are still unknown?
Your Foreign Minister spokesman, Abdul Basit said regarding Dr. Aafia that your government would try “to get her back to Pakistan and we would do anything possible and we’ll apply all possible tools in this regard”. Then will the Zardari government close all US bases in the country? Will it expel all US military and intelligence personnel from its cities? Will it cut the US supply route to Afghanistan through Karachi? Will it stop fighting a war on behalf of the US against its own people in Waziristan? Will it cut all cooperation, support, and alliance with this state that has shown itself to be an enemy of the people of Pakistan and this Muslim Ummah? The Muslims of Pakistan know that the answer to all of these questions is ‘NO’, because the cowardice of the Zadari government precedes it.
The Muslims of Pakistan deserve better than cowardly leaders that sell their own citizens for a dollar and a dime. They deserve better than corrupt, decrepit political systems – whether democracies or dictatorships – that have shown time and time again to have failed the people. They deserve a system that cares sincerely for the welfare of its citizens; a system that refuses to be manipulated by outside forces; a system that will not tolerate the abduction, detention, or torture of even one of its citizens and that will show in action, not in hollow words what it means to be the true guardian of its people. This system is the Khilafah state. It is this sincere Islamic leadership alone that will alleviate the suffering of this Ummah, establish security in our lands, relieve Muslims from their oppression and guard their honour.
We the female Members of Hizb ut-Tahrir demand an end to your government’s campaign of brutality. We demand the release of the hundreds of innocent Muslims who languishing as political prisoners in your jails. And we demand an end to your co-operation with the US that has caused insecurity and turmoil in our land. You may attempt to convince yourself that you will remain unaccounted for your innumerable crimes of injustice but you should know for certain that first the Khilafah system and the Creator of you and us all will hold you to account for your acts of abomination.
Those who oppose Allah and His Prophets will be amongst those most humiliated. Allah has decreed: ‘My Prophets and I will be victorious’: for Allah is All-Powerful All-Mighty
[TMQ Al-Mujadilah 58: 20-21]
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Women’s Media Representative
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain