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Dr Aafia Siddiqui has signed mercy petition, Senate told

ISLAMABAD: The Senate was informed that Pakistani neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui who has been jailed in the United States has finally signed a mercy petition.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan told the Upper House that Dr Siddiqui had reservations over filing the mercy plea but has now signed it and the petition was being sent to the US president through the jail authorities.

“If we had the power, we would have brought Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan within 24 hours,” Awan said. He said Dr Siddiqui had access to e-mail through which she stayed in touch with her family and counsel.

He said Dr Aafia Siddqui had spoken to officials of the Pakistan Embassy in Washington by telephone several times. The adviser said that legal action could be taken against those who had handed over Dr Siddiqui and Aimal Kansi to the United States.

Awan was responding on behalf of the foreign minister to a question asked by Senator Mushtaq Ahmad who had sought to confirm whether a ban had been imposed on meetings with Dr Siddiqui in the US jail due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a written reply, Awan said the consular visits had been suspended by the prison authorities in Federal Medical Centre in Carswell where Dr Siddiqui is incarcerated and in-person meetings of consul-general have been put on hold but they continued to remain in touch with prison authorities to get updates on her health and well-being.

It said a special consular visit had been arranged for the consul-general in Houston to meet Dr Siddiqui on 24th September. During the meeting, Dr Aafia informed the diplomat that her COVID-19 test had come negative. She was alert in her conversation with the diplomat and told him that she had recently been examined by her psychiatrist.

Siddiqui is serving an 86-year sentence after been convicted by a US court on the charge of shooting at army and FBI officers while in custody in Afghanistan.

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