Press release, 5 August 2008
Lahore: With the US finally admitting custody of Dr. Afia Siddiqi, one of the most brutal cases of suppression of individual freedom has become to unravel, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in a statement on Tuesday.
The commission said: Public pressure has at last compelled the United States to admit that Dr. Afia is in their custody.
While the Pakistani government has belatedly begun to admit that it had some responsibility towards Dr. Afia, it has a lot of explaining to do as to who had been detaining her and where since she was picked up from Karachi in 2003 along with her three children.
To say that she had been taken into custody only on July 21, 2008 is a blatant lie, as transparently ugly as any falsehood can be. The insinuation, that she had been hiding herself since 2003, is a travesty of truth, an affront to people’s commonsense.
Dr. Afia’s case is a reminder of the grave injustice done to God knows how many Pakistanis in US detention facilities in Bagram in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and elsewhere, who have been listed as missing.
While reminding the government of Pakistan of its duty to trace all people who are reported to be involuntarily disappeared, HRCP calls upon all civil society elements and human rights organizations to make a concerted effort for the release of all missing persons and to ensure that Dr. Afia gets justice, that has long been denied to her and that in a manner no civilized people can condone.