US promises to look into Aafia Siddiqui’s case, says Pakistan

Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari meets Dr. Fauzia Siddiqui, sister of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui last week. The minster said the Government is trying its best to bring Aafia back to Pakistan. (Ministry for Human Rights photo)
Updated 08 November 2018
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US promises to look into Aafia Siddiqui’s case, says Pakistan

  • The US envoy to Islamabad has promised to look at the request for rights of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, foreign office spokesman has told Arab News.
  • Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui, sister of Aafia, said she will be summoned for a meeting next week on her sister’s case.

KARACHI: The US envoy to Islamabad has promised to look into Pakistan’s request that the human and legal rights of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui are requested, foreign office spokesman Dr. Muhammad Faisal told Arab News.
Siddiqui, 46, was convicted in 2010 of seven counts of attempted murder and assault of US personnel in Afghanistan. She is serving an 86-year jail term at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.
Earlier, the foreign office in a statement issued on Wednesday said that the Government of Pakistan has been raising the issue of Siddiqui with US authorities regularly.
“Pakistan’s CG in Houston pays consular visits to Dr. Siddiqui, periodically, to inquire about her wellbeing and conveys her messages to Dr. Aafia’s family,” read the statement, adding that the issue of respecting Siqqiqui’s human and legal rights was also raised in the meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Ambassador Alice Wells on Nov. 6. “The US side has promised to look into our request,” the statement read.
According to the statement, the foreign minister will soon meet Siddiqui’s sister in Islamabad.
Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui, Aafia’s sister, confirmed to Arab News that she has received a call from the foreign office about a meeting.
“The agenda and date has not been shared yet. I got a call from a foreign office official who told me that I will be summoned for a meeting next week,” she told Arab News.
Dr. Siddiqui, during a consular visit to her by Aisha Farooqui, the Pakistan’s consul general in Houston on Oct. 9, had requested that her message was sent to Prime Minister Imran Khan.
In the message, seen by Arab News, Dr. Siddiqui said that she wanted to get out of prison because her imprisonment in the US was illegal as she was kidnapped and taken to the US. “Imran Khan had supported me in the past also. I have always considered him one of my biggest heroes,” read the message Farooqui sent to Islamabad.
Siddiqui’s sister argued that through the “Transfer Of Offenders Ordinance-2002,” the Government of Pakistan may transfer Aafia to a Pakistani jail. “The least we have been demanding is not to free Aafia but to transfer her to a prison in Pakistan for completing the remaining term in her country,” she said.
On May 23 earlier this year, Pakistan’s consul-general in Houston met Dr. Siddiqui, who complained about physical and sexual abuse by prison staff.
“She was constantly disturbed in her room and her privacy was consistently violated by jail staff who harassed her, threatened her and attempted to sexually abuse her on a number of occasions,” Farooqui wrote in her report, a copy of which was leaked to Arab News.
Siddiqui’s sister, Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui, had told Arab News: “The leaking of this report will jeopardize Aafia’s life further as the prison guards will turn more vengeful.
“No words can describe the pain this report has inflicted on our hearts. No words can describe our agony.” 
Farooqui said Siddiqui had claimed that staff “barged into her room, confiscated her belongings, made fun of her and even snatched her scarf off her head.”
The consul-general had recommended Islamabad seek a US Department of Justice inquiry into Siddiqui’s claims.


Pakistan likely to receive first tranche of $1bn from KSA today

Updated 19 November 2018
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Pakistan likely to receive first tranche of $1bn from KSA today

  • Saudi Arabia pledged $6 billion financial bailout package for Pakistan in October
  • The remaining amount will be received in the next two months

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umar said that Pakistan is likely to receive the first tranche of $1 billion under the balance of payments support from Saudi Arabia on Monday, the Pakistan media reported.
The amount of the first tranche will reach the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), according to the Finance Minister.
Umar added that the second and third tranche will be received over the next two months.
In October, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Saudi Arabia and the kingdom agreed to give a bailout plan of $6 billion for Pakistan under which Saudi Arabia agreed to hand over $3 billion to Pakistan “as balance of payment support,” while another one-year deferred payment facility of up to $3 billion for oil imports was agreed.
Umar reiterated that Saudi Arabia is taking a keen interest in investments in different projects in the Gwadar Port.
Last week in a meeting with President Arif Alvi, Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki revealed that “Saudi Minister for Energy will soon visit Pakistan to sign MoU on establishing an oil refinery in Pakistan, apart from finalizing other major projects in which Saudi Arabia has shown interest,” President office said in a statement after the meeting on November 06.
Since assuming office in August this year, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Saudi Arabia twice and Pakistani leadership terms these trips very successful, resulting in enhanced and multi-faceted economic cooperation between the two brotherly countries.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and his economic team are also in talks with China for financial backing and PM Khan early this month visited China.
Pakistan is also holding talks with International Monitory Fund (IMF) for another loan to meet the economic challenges.