SC rejects petition seeking Aafia’s repatriation, says decision out of bounds

ISLAMABAD: The Sup­reme Court on Monday rejected a petition seeking Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s repatriation after it was informed that the prisoner undergoing jail term in the United States was alive.

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“No case has been made out under Article 4 of the Constitution,” obser­ved Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar before dismissing the petition moved by Dr Aafia’s sister Dr Fawzia Siddiqui highlighting the plight of Pakistani prisoners languishing in foreign jails.

At the last hearing on June 7, the Supreme Court had ordered the federal government to contact the US authorities and ascertain the whereabouts of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

The directive was issued against the backdrop of concerns expressed by certain quarters about the news of her death.

On Monday, Advocate Dawood Ghazanfer, representing Dr Fawzia, argued before the court that Pakistani citizens in foreign countries also had fundamental rights.

The chief justice observed that the Pakistani courts had no role in foreign lands, adding that if Dr Aafia was incarcerated in the US, the case should be made out there only.

Dr Fawzia had also pleaded before the court that she wanted proof about the well-being of her sister, requesting the apex court to order the authorities concerned to bring her back to the country.

The chief justice observed that the Supreme Court could not issue directives to an independent country.

In her petition, Dr Fawzia had deplored that the government had devised no mechanism on how to repatriate Pakistanis who were in a miserable condition and that the miseries of Pakistani prisoners detained abroad for whatever reasons were very painful and infringement of their basic human rights.

The petitioner had requested the court to direct the government to declare a moratorium on prisoner transfer to the US unless Dr Aafia was returned.

She had also requested the court to order the government to extend her all possible cooperation and assistance in obtaining US visa to visit and meet her sister and constitute a competent and independent medical team to examine Dr Aafia’s mental and physical health.

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