Imran Khan and forgotten souls!
Another most critical missing person case relates to Dr. Afia Siddiqui. She was disappeared in Karachi in March 2003 and resurfaced in Afghanistan in 2008, after 5 years, framed with attempted murder of US personnel and taken to the US. She was sentenced for 80 years, a maximum sentence of life in prison, means the world will not see her as a free person in her life again. She is also known as prisoner 650. Her eldest son Ahmed was released in 2008 and in April this year a 12 year old girl, Maryam, was mysteriously left outside the family residence in Karachi. We still do not know about her youngest son Suleman who was 6 months old at the time of the abduction.
Yvonne Ridley, a notable convert-journalist from UK, since 2008 and was the first to discover the presence of women prisoners in Bagram - this was at a time when no one even knew of any women prisoners in Bagram especially Dr Aafia. However after extensive investigative work by Yvonne Ridley and her team, the truth was uncovered in 2008. In 2008, it was discovered that there is a female prisoner 650 who so happened to be Dr Aafia.
Beside Yvonne, there were also supportive statements from Caroline Lucas MEP, Green Party Leader and from Gareth Peirce. Caroline Lucas said that "the circumstances surrounding Aafia's disappearance and subsequent seven year incarceration reveal the shambolic sate of the US criminal justice system....I therefore lead my full support to the Justice for Aafia Coalition." Gareth Peirce said that ''realize the true horror of the circumstances in which a defendant who awaits trial under Special Administrative Measures is held in the USA , entirely isolated, in a cell just 7 by 12 feet with a moulded concrete bunk. No contact with another person. Never to see the light of day.... This is a case that cries out for a return and with the greatest speed, to her own country now for Aafia Siddiqui".
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) & its Chairman Imran Khan has been at the forefront of highlighting Dr Aafia's issue as well as the missing people issue. Imran Khan in one of his speech had demanded that “the Government of Pakistan tell us how Dr Aafia ended up in Afghanistan with her three children; how can a frail woman attack US marines; why has the Government of Pakistan not taken any active measures to bring her back home to face any trial. The Government needs to expose those who have aided and abetted the kidnapping of Dr Aafia,” while he was referring Pervaiz Musharraf govt. After that he has asked PTI members to actively participate in demonstrations, vigils across the globe. Upon his directive Mohammad Kassam, member of PTI UK was one of the several people who had kept the 7 day vigil outside the US Embassy, spending up to 20 hours in the wet weather of London.
In recent days, the world has witnessed that the former foreign minister of Pervaiz Musharraf regime who has joined PTI, while addressing one of the public meeting was sitting next to Imran Khan at the stage where as down, among the crowd, there were one or two flags showing few slogans about the release of Afia Siddiqui but Imran Khan didn’t utter few words about Dr Afia’s case or her release from US custody!
Time has changed; a leader is born & gained popularity by using these burning issues and now no need to look upon these forgotten souls!