Coming To Terms With Aafia Siddiqui

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

Denial, ladies and gentlemen, is not a river in Egypt- it is a river that flows in the heart of every Muslim who is trying to come to terms with modern reality and the brutal assault on his or her identity.   Instead of course corrections and calculations to persevere, the Muslim sentiment led by its “intelligentsia” which is seldom intelligent has chosen to make martyrs out of people like Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.

The Islamic right wing has gone into hyper-drive.  It is not uncommon to find at these rallies organized by Jamaat-e-Islami and the like young boys of pre-teen and teen years dressed up like Muhammad Bin Qasim saying “Labaik” to free the hapless Muslim sister.  But have these gentlemen considered just how far this false religious frenzy has been manipulated by the forces that be to create a right wing?

The whole thing is sinister from the start.  Let us not speak of the verdict on legal grounds but suffice to say Siddiqui’s conduct during the trial made her word unreliable.   It is therefore understandable why the jury were ready to believe the soldiers’ version.   The verdict itself is likely to be appealed and by the time it goes through to the system from circuit to Supreme Court,  we can be sure of one thing :  Siddiqui would have had the due process that her champions have been clamouring for (but which her champions would deny to others in a heartbeat).

The real issue to my mind is the “missing years”. Guardian reporter  Declan Walsh quoted two key members of Aafia Siddiqui’s family who have refuted that Aafia was incarcerated all through out 2003-2008.    One of them is Aafia Siddiqui’s uncle.   The one key person who can put this controversey to rest once and for all is Aafia Siddiqui’s son Ahmad aka Ali Hassan.   Now here is the fun part-  Fawzia Siddiqui, his aunt, doesn’t let him speak.  Why?    Unfortunately those championing poor Ms. Siddiqui refuse to answer these questions.  They launch into long winded and inane arguments about Aafia’s husband beating her up but they don’t have the moral courage to ask why Fawzia Siddiqui doesn’t want the boy presented before media. 

The real story I suspect is very different from either of the two versions.  Consider the fairy tale script.  

1. A British journalist by the name of Yvonne Ridley is held captive by the Taliban.

2.  The Taliban let Ridley go.   Ridley converts to Islam.  Sues Al Jazeera.  Wins.  Sues another TV Channel wins.   Starts her one woman battle against the West.

3.  Khalid Shaikh Muhammad is arrested and he names Aafia Siddiqui.

4.  Aafia Siddiqui goes missing.

5.  Five years later Ridley lets the prisoner 650 out of the bag after miraculously gaining access to Bagram air base – despite her credentials as being anti-American and pro-Taliban (strange considering how many journalists are not allowed to go there).

6.  The very next month Aafia Siddiqui is caught in Kabul (looking perfectly healthy mind you- watch Al Jazeera’s video on “Aafia Siddiqui’s missing years” – not anything like what Ridley described prisoner 650-  look especially at her hands – the manicure).

7.  Ridley starts a global campaign for Siddiqui’s release.  Travels all over the United States as part of “Free Aafia tour”.  (How strange given that the US routinely deports people like Tariq Ramadan and Cat Stevens etc). 

Now many of you- though not all- will be wondering what I am getting at.  Well this comes back to a very different ball game that is being played in Pakistan.   Some sections within the US’ entrenched establishment are working at cross purposes to Obama’s stated Af-Pak policy.  The objective might well be to de-stabilize Pakistan by using right wingers to lead to a fulfillment of the Ralph Peters’ plan of a reduced nuclear free Pakistan and a reduced Iran with a free Baluchistan state under American tutelage.   My own hunch is that this is not Obama’s policy but a policy of small minded men sitting behind some deep dark closet like rooms somewhere storeys below the Potomac and the delta.  So how does  Aafia Siddiqui play into all of this?  Well for this strategy to work the right wingers will tip the balance and then the ethnonationalists will bring the entire edifice down.

Ofcourse this is just a wild theory as to the motive behind such action but one thing is quite clear – the powers that be are deliberately allowing the Aafia Siddiqui situation to become something it is not.     Aafia Siddiqui did claim to work for ISI and for a whole lot of other agencies during her trial. Who is working for who is now a question the answer to which is lost in the many many knots tied in this case.   One thing is abundantly clear though: Aafia Siddiqui was not an innocent mother of three driving to the airport one day when she was snatched.  That is a figment of the media’s wild imagination.

The best course of action is for Pakistani government to provide Aafia Siddiqui the best possible defence to the government’s fullest satisfaction right upto the US Supreme Court. Second the Pakistan government must constitute at once a fact finding committee – with one high court justice of towering reputation and impartiality as its head- which should then provide a conclusive report on where Aafia Siddiqui was , after thoroughly investigating both Siddiqui in the US and her son here in Pakistan,  The roles of Fawzia Siddiqui and Yvonne Ridley must be investigated in detail as these two women have quite clearly withheld key information pertinent to this case.   Third,  the Pakistan government and the US government must leave no stone unturned in finding her children.  

And last but not the least the report, whatever its findings,  must be made public.

49 Comments

Filed under Al Qaeda, Terrorism, War On Terror

49 responses to “Coming To Terms With Aafia Siddiqui

  1. hoss

    This is a good article. I have always wondered about Yvonne Ridley. Every thing about her appears suspicious. Will comment later on the whole situation.

  2. kashifiat

    What a bull shit :

  3. Luq

    dear americans, we are willing to trade kashifat for aafiya.
    Luq

  4. kashifiat

    Yes, u r proven counterparts of “Dear Americans” in Pakistan

  5. OMLK

    “And last but not the least the report, whatever its findings, must be made public.”

    I like your sense of humour.

  6. Kashifiat,
    I would recommend that you stick to the norms of civilized discourse rather than using invective language. If you have any points to make please bring them forward so that you can rebut what has been said in this article by YLH. Otherwise, kindly refrain from using abusive words as it helps no one.

    Just my 2 cents!

  7. emrun

    I wonder what made Pakistani Govt pay 2 million $ for alqaeda lady. There are thousands of Pakistani men, women and childern held in jails all over the world on mere immigration rule voilations, yet Pakistani embassy officials simply visit them once a year….They could be brought back without any spending of dollars.

  8. Hasan

    “Aafia Siddiqui did claim to work for ISI and for a whole lot of other agencies during her trial.”

    Any link to this information?

  9. Hear hear! YLH, you are emerging as the new NFP and a safe pair of hands under Raza Rumi. When the whole ‘intelligentia’ is swimming in the sewer of Jamaat Islami and Zionist Hamid propaganda, there are only a few sane voices left in our beloved country.
    A balanced and well written piece.

  10. I respect Dr Aafiya’s human rights but she is also an Al Qaida terrorist (and terrorist sympathiser), full stop.
    The problem with Islamists (including Khalid Khawaja (ISI) and Amna Janjua and yes you Mr. Kashfiat of Murdoodi Muhallah) is that they donot believe in the universality of human rights for all citizens of Pakistan yet cry bucket loads for the human rights of Islamist terrorists.

  11. yasserlatifhamdani

    Ex-muslim,

    NFP is a great compliment for me. He is a real street fighter in this battle.

    Did anyone read the stupid story by The Nation accusing Indians to be behind this because the NY attorney general is an Indian.

    I don’t think enough people understand why I want to wrest Pakistani nationalism from the crazies …they just make us all look bad.

  12. yasserlatifhamdani

    Hasan, sure …according to reports she said during one of her outbursts in the court. She also said she knew things about 9/11 and that the “joos” were trying to mislead America.

  13. Only wrest Pakistani Nationalism from the crazies ?? No Sir, wrest ISLAM from the crazies because they make all of us everywhere look bad.

    Farhaj
    USA

  14. Only wrest Pakistani Nationalism from the crazies?? Let’s get rid of all the crazies throughout Islam – those lending everyone in the world to incorrectly assume that Islam brings nothing good to anyone, and only accepts violence and high shalwars.

    Farhaj
    USA

  15. PMA

    “Now many of you- though not all- will be wondering what I am getting at. [Oh no, not again]. Well this comes back to a very different ball game that is being played in Pakistan.”

    “Some sections within the US’ entrenched establishment [?] are working at cross purposes to Obama’s stated Af-Pak policy.” [Really?].

    Here we go. The First Shoe:

    “The objective might well be to destabilize Pakistan by using ‘right wingers’ [Those damn ‘right wingers’] to lead to a fulfillment of the Ralph Peters’ plan of a reduced nuclear free Pakistan and a reduced Iran with a free Baluchistan state under American tutelage.”

    Here, with Second Shoe still on:

    “My own hunch is that this is not Obama’s policy but a policy of small minded men sitting behind some deep dark closet like rooms somewhere storeys below the Potomac and the delta [Got the picture?].”

    “So how does Aafia Siddiqui play into all of this? [Let me see].”

    OK. The Second Shoe:

    “Well for this strategy to work the ‘right wingers’ will tip the balance and then the ethno-nationalists [them too] will bring the entire edifice down.”

    Who said the ‘right wingers’ were the only conspiracy theorist nuts.

  16. PM

    It is really sad to see intelligent people put forward a half wit analysis of this women.
    This is a case of Am-pak agencies playing their ugly games and they now want to hide their doings. You don’t know more than 5 percent of actual facts but that is good enough for cutting analysis. The trial in NY is a joke and everybody knows it.
    It is a case celeb in Pakistan because the religious right can hit liberals for not standing up to their claims for woman’s rights. This has put them in no win situation.
    Only solution is to bring her back to Pakistan and put her before anti-terror court.

  17. Ron

    PM,
    “The trial in NY is a joke and everybody knows it.”

    By this u are questioning the legal system of USA??????

  18. PM

    Are you willing to discuss the legal issues involved like: jurisdiction, jury of the peers, preponderance of evidence, full disclosure etc.

  19. Hasan

    Taliban idiots who are supporting Aafia should read this;

    From Maududi to Aafia
    blog.dawn.com/2010/02/11/from-maududi-to-aafia/

  20. OMLK

    @PMA

    Your conclusion that “Who said the ‘right wingers’ were the only conspiracy theorist nuts.”, is compromised as you omitted the following quote by ylh.

    “Ofcourse this is just a wild theory as to the motive behind such action”

  21. bushra naqi

    I agree that our ethno-nationalism is stretched too far now…it has become an act of nobility to be in denial of all the bad things happening here.. the support for siddique comes from here..a martyr convicted at the behest of America. It does’nt matter to them whether she is allegedly an Alqaeda operative or that our state machinery arrested her and handed her over to the US. None of this seems to justify her arrest and trial .This is a kind of pan-islamism mindset working parallel to the state and against it.
    It can’t get us anywhere..like self-consuming anger against everyone.

  22. kashifiat

    Also read

  23. YLH has made statements, but without any authentication or references. Such sort of writing looks like a tale. He has also dubbed Dr. Aafia Siddiqui as an Al-Qaeda terrorist. Were she so, she would definitely have landed into Gitmo. Instead she was kept at Bagram and her whereabouts were unknown for 3 years. If Yvonne Ridley highlighted her case, it doesn’t mean by any way that she should be maligned or cursed and accused as playing into the hands of rightists and Jamaat walas.

    A writer ought to analyze the. situation in an unbiased manner but YLH has started giving it a colour as if some conspiracy was hatched by all of them.

    Dear YLH, Dr. A.S. was lifted by Mush’ s men and sent to Bagram. Like so many other Pakistanis whom Bush the Junior wanted, were handed over to US authorities and then he (Musharraf) mustered billions of dollars (acc. to Americans) abt. 9 billion, though not a single dollar seems to had been spent on people of Pakistan. Had this not been the case, the country would not have faced so many shortages, i.e. of flour, of sugar, of gas, of electricity; you name it and you found it short in supply ???

    Nayyar Hashmey
    http://wondersofpakistan.wordpress.cotm/

  24. Devo

    Has it occurred to anyone that Aafia is actually guilty ? The Jury thought so , and in the US juries are more fair than any that will be found in Pakistan . A defendent has more rights than are to be found in Pakistan . She disappeared because she was involved with Al Queda , indeed she was married to a nephew of the 9/11 plotter , who now sits in a US jail awaiting his trial ….he has admitted his involvement.
    The estimation of whether being sent to Gitmo as being indicative of the veracity or severity of Charges is a meaningless statement .A strawman argument .
    She has been convicted , and in the US jurors are instructed to convict when beyond a shadow of doubt guilt is indicated .
    When arrested she was in possesion of incriminating articles , and why would anyone shoot her in a police station for no reason , a lone woman slight in stature , a threat to no one …unless she managed to pick up a gun .
    She had her fair trial , and was convicted . She has the right to appeal , and until then she is guilty as charged and deserves prison .- end of story

  25. Milind Kher

    The American justice system is fair and transparent.

    I agree with what Devo is saying.

  26. Nebu

    Interesting that YLH chooses to focus on (manicured?) finger nails rather than the ravaged face.

    Clutching at straws?

  27. yasserlatifhamdani

    The image I am referring to is from the video of Aafia Siddiqui’s arrest which can be found in Al Jazeera’s coverage.

    Do show me the “ravaged face” in that.

    But ofcourse we have the one image of aafia that the media loves to play which last I checked was only “reportedly aafia siddiqui”.

    Who is clutching at straws then?

  28. Nebu

    yasserlatifhamdani,

    I saw the Al-Jazeera footage. Are you saying there’s no face in that, only the fingers?

    Watch again.

  29. yasserlatifhamdani

    There is no ravaged face. Certainly how liars and crooks have manipulated this. Anyway I have said what I’ve said and you may echo in your own chamber of self delusion.

  30. Nebu

    yasserlatifhamdani,

    Oh so you’ve seen that face after all (“that the media loves to play which last I checked was only “reportedly aafia siddiqui”.).

    That’s even more straws. Keep piling them up.

    Are you now saying the woman in that picture is not Afia Siddiqui at the Afghan police station?

  31. yasserlatifhamdani

    What I said is quite clear. I don’t wish to repeat myself unless you can explain why she has perfectly manicured hands in the footage.

    Otherwise keep repeating yourself like a broken record.

  32. Nebu

    Can you post a picture of those fingernails? I don’t think it’s clear enough in that footage whether these were manicured or full of dirt. Let’s first settle that issue.

    Then I will proceed to take your silly and unsubstantiated rant of an article apart piece by piece.

  33. Milind Kher

    There seems to be a lot of support for Dr Aafia Siddiqui. No doubt, it is fuelled by the growing Anti American sentiment.

    Whether it is good for Pakistan is something that time will tell.

  34. yasserlatifhamdani

    Nebu I don’t have any desire to engage in any argument with an idiot.

  35. Nebu

    EDITED FOR ABUSE.

  36. yasserlatifhamdani

    Read the article again. You obviously have no clue about the case or the legal issues involved.

  37. Nebu

    I read the article. You say “Siddiqui’s conduct during the trial made her word unreliable. It is therefore understandable why the jury were ready to believe the soldiers’ version. ”

    Believe? The jury is not supposed to ‘believe’ any party. This one just had to believe the fired bullet disappeared, as did its casing, as did the fired bullet’s hole anywhere in that small room, as did the trace of any fingerprints, to give that verdict.

    It was anecdotal evidence of interested parties against forensic physical evidence. In the least there was suffient cause to give her benefit of doubt. There was no other charge except the firing charge. No terrorism/Alqaeda connection etc. etc, mind you. Just the firing charge.

    If she was punished for being a sympathizer, and if you accept that as good legal practice, then more power to you.

    Either you have rule of law, or liberal fascism of your ilk.

  38. PA

    Here is my take on this. Follow this closely.
    In a novel by Elmore Leonard (Split Images), there is this rich man who wishes to kill well known people, just for the glory of it. His list includes Castro, Ortega etc. The smart police detective who is on the chase, frames the rich man for the murder of a dirty, ex-cop. The rich man is devasted, he moans – They are going to talk about me for killing this nobody?
    I think this exactly what the USA did for Dr.Siddique. The most intriguiging aspect of Declan Walshs’ report was this tiny bit -“Dr.Siddique traveled to the USA ostensibly to look for work. She stayed only two weeks, but found time to open a Post Office Box in the name of …. (person now in Guantanamo Bay)….”.

  39. Nebu’s got a point.
    -F

  40. Hayyer

    Wikipedia says that;
    1. She opened a PO box a/c in the name of a man she identified as being her husband. This man was later held in Gitmo. The keys to the box were found with Uzair Paracha, an AQ associate now sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.
    2. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad revealed her name during interrogation.
    3. She married his nephew later.
    4.Her first husband Khan says he saw her at Islamabad airport in April 2003 and two years later in a traffic jam in Karachi.
    4. Her maternal uncle says he met her in January ’08 in Islamabad. He notified her mother. Aafia stayed two days with him.

    If the above is true then she could not have been with the Pakistani government or the Americans in that period.

    There is also the reported evidence of someone who identified her as being involved in diamond smuggling in Sierra Leone in 2001.

    Wikipedia’s piece is cross referenced. It may not be entirely inaccurate.
    Whatever the truthfulness of the charge of attempting to kill an American soldier, the other charges need more serious refutation.

  41. Nebu

    There was no charge except attempting to kill an American soldier. No other charges exist for any refutation, your wikipedia intellect notwithstanding.

  42. Nebu

    Oh I see, EDITED FOR ABUSE.

    Is ‘Idiot’ less abusive?

  43. hoss

    Dr. Nayyar Hashmey
    February 12, 2010 at 11:21 pm
    “Dear YLH, Dr. A.S. was lifted by Mush’ s men and sent to Bagram. Like so many other Pakistanis whom Bush the Junior wanted, were handed over to US authorities and then he (Musharraf) mustered billions of dollars (acc. to Americans) abt.”

    Why they lifted her and not you? It is a fact that many Pakistani especially of Jamaat (islami) bent are involved in many activities related with Islamic extremism known as alqueda and its affiliates today.

    The circumstantial evidence is very much there that she was involved in some support activity as has been outlined by Hayyer February 13, 2010 at 9:33 pm from wiki.

    Granted some of her known activities might not warrant her incarnation for a long period of time. But that is public information and incomplete. There might be more information that many secret agencies had on her and that information at the very least, implicated her in some other activities that might warrant her incarnation for a long period of time.

    The simple question that JI followers and Afia support don’t answer is that why was she hounded by the US and Pakistani agencies for so long. The agencies knew she has three kids and they knew that she is their only guardian; still, they kept coming after her. They decided to live with the bad publicity and poor PR and pursued her vigorously.

    Now you tell me if Dr. Afia cared about her kids, why she not stopped what she was doing? When she herself decided to pursue her extremist activities, why should we blame the US and the Pakistani agencies for pursuing her?

    There is every reason to believe that she espouses extreme causes and has been involved in some activities that are beyond the pale. Her reported conduct in Jail in Taxes and in the court in NY shows that she is not shy of her militant views and defends those militant and extremist views at every step of the way.

    Devo
    February 13, 2010 at 5:58 am

    The US justice system generally may be fine but it deals with what is presented to the system. The release of thousands of prisoner based on DNA evidence shows that there were many decisions that U.S. juries and judges made that were not correct. There is also one famous case of OJ Simpson where many questions have been asked about the Jury verdict. In this case there are many things that are questionable. If the US had evidence then it should have been presented in the open court and not in hidden from the public. She was not tried on any terrorism related charges. She was convicted on raising a gun at the officers and firing a single shot them. That sure is not terrorism. She was brought in the US and we still don’t know whether it was legally done or she was kidnapped from either Afghanistan or Pakistan.

    There are many issues in the case and the US motives and the way this case is being conducted is at best a fked up handling. I think she would be released on appeal and sent to Pakistan to become a hero of the urban JI militants, thugs, terrorism supporters, and white color Islamist in Pakistan media.

    Yasser is correctly sniffing something fishy in the whole situation.

  44. Minal

    Well!! must say …..a balanced article with good points raised.

    nevertheless, ” Aafia Siddiqui was not an innocent mother of three driving to the airport one day when she was snatched.”

    Also, keeping in mind that she changed her statements through her trial, plus claimed she could broker peace with the Taliban, making such statements and having a soft corner for taliban is the reason where she is now.

    Plus, come on people…..our country is suffering because of such people like her…islamic radicals, Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar,Karachi is not the same as it use to be…lets say capital…every nook and corner every turn of the road there is fear, if not then a suicide bomber has already blessed that street,corner or bazar….

    She could have served her country on development, education etc rather being well wishers of talibans….

    its unfortunate to say but I fully support the jury’s decision.

  45. Tried to find the reporting’s and statements YLH has mentioned in his post. Had he given some tangible and relevant links to the videos he is referring to, the things would have gone more transparent, but no references, no links?? I on my part tried to find out AlJazeera’s videos on the issue but could not find the nails sort of thing in the video YLH has mentioned in his post. YLH is requested to kindly provide relevant links. This would help sift the facts from fiction.

    However the videos I saw particularly one by an American channel mentions amongst her crimes as possessing map of New York, Map of Liberty Square, some book on New York and White House. This sort of stuff is normally supposed to be carried by any tourist or a visitor from a place other than New York. Link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMcJr0NbzNA

    Nayyar Hashmey
    http://wondersofpakistan.wordpress.com/

  46. @ Hayyer

    1. [The fact of being wife of a person who was sent to Gitmo does in no way prove per se that she too is or was involved in all the acts (ascribed to have been basis of her former husband’s condemnation by the US authorities] were committed by her as well.
    2. [Her uncle stayed silent when her case was highlighted by Yvone Ridley and Asian Human Rights Commission, he has spoken now, why did he remain silenn for such a long time?]
    3. There is also the reported evidence of someone who identified her as being involved in diamond smuggling in Sierra Leone in 2001.[All evidence are ’reported’ no substantial evidence is available. Even US secret service agencies have not been able to find her diamond smuggling case. Again there are references to such things in their files, however, on basis of references you cannot punish a person, it’s the law which decides what is truth, what is ‘reported’.]
    4. .[The story of her having attempted to murder US soldiers is itself so flimsy. If US soldiers are so simplistic to allow a women of frail structure to lift an M4 gun and shoot at US soldiers, I think this very fact [if actually it was so] proves either US soldiers are no soldiers at all who can’t defend themselves against a single woman who is not only a women but also a prisoner, or otherwise the story has been concocted.
    5. The last charge is that she had some gel like chemical with her. It’s not specified at all what type of gel it was. As everybody knows gels are also part of men as well as women’s cosmetics. So to have a simple gel is no crime. If it was some explosive sort of chemical gel then why that chemical has not been named.
    6. With due respect to YLH I think to weave out a story just to stand on the other side of the fence, is no good to truth and justice. Aafia Siddiqui like so many other sons of Pakistan [simply on the wanted list of the then Bush administration, was traded by former Pakistani dictator Mush for dollars, of which he himself admitted in his book “mentioning Americans know very well how many parsons from Pakistan have I handed over to them and how many dollars have been received by us (exactly not us but me i.e. the former dictator].

    Nayyar Hashmey
    http://wondersofpakistan.wordpress.com/

  47. B. Civilian

    btw, is she or is she not a US citizen?