ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has directed interior ministry for making arrangements for return of Dr Aafia Siddiqui. Meanwhile the Federal Cabinet has approved signing of exchange of prisoners’ treaty with the United States and European countries.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, chairing the federal cabinet meeting in Islamabad, directed the Interior Minister to make arrangements for the early return of Dr Aafia Siddiqui. A ray of hope for Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s release surfaced as the federal cabinet approved signing European Convention, paving the way for extradition of Dr Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan.
Under the decision, convicted Pakistanis prisoners would be brought back in the country. It is pertinent to mention here that the persons who are facing cases of different nature in the different countries of the world are not included in the decision.
The sources of the cabinet division informed that the agreement was initially finalized with the five countries which include China, Iran, Turkey, South Korea and Thailand. As many as 1500 Pakistanis are imprisoned in the jails of these countries while 100 prisoners of these countries are imprisoned in Pakistani jails.
Most of the Pakistanis are illegally residing in Turkey and are involved in various crimes and other than Turkey the considerable numbers of Pakistanis are present in the jails of Thailand and South Korea.
Earlier, the recommendations for the extradition of Dr Aafia Siddiqui were sent to Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for final approval.
The recommendations were forwarded after interior ministry and foreign office declared them agreeable.
The interior ministry had formed a three-member task force under the supervision of director general national crisis management cell Tariq Lodhi.
The task force presented 14 recommendations to interior ministry that were later sent to Prime Minister for approval.
The sources said that the letter was written in light of the letter sent by US in 2009. In that letter, the US told Pakistan that the only legal way for the extradition of Dr Aafia was to sign a prisoner swap deal with it.
The US offered two deals that include European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad for the extradition of neuroscientist. More than sixty countries including US are signatories of the convention.
The interior ministry’s sources said that a delegation would soon hold talks with US civil labour union representatives.
Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif will also hold a telephonic conversation with President Obama in this regard. The Pakistani neuroscientist was sentenced to 86 years in prison after she was convicted of grabbing a US soldier’s M-4 assault rifle and trying to shoot a group of FBI agents and soldiers at an Afghan police compound in July 2008, a charge she consistently denied during the trial.