Washington: Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik has appealed to the US administration to repatriate jailed Pakistani neuro-scientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui to her home country on humanitarian grounds.
Malik, during a meeting with several top American officials at the Embassy of Pakistan, cited the plight of Aafia`s ailing mother and the adverse impact of years of separation on her children who intensely want to meet her and want her back in the country, reports The Dawn.
"I raised the issue with the full force of Pakistani people``s emotions, let us hope the request is considered sympathetically," Malik said.
Malik met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Director FBI Robert Mueller and US Special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman. "One way to deal with the situation resulting from Aafia`s imprisonment here could be that she be allowed to complete rest of her sentencing in Pakistan," Malik had suggested.
But he dismissed the notion that there could be a trade-off that Aafia be repatriated in exchange for release of Dr Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani, who helped the CIA hunt down Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, and had been jailed by a tribal court for his links to militant organizations. Dr Aafia, a graduate of MIT, allegedly went missing for five years before she was discovered in Afghanistan.
The prosecution says that she tried to fire on a U.S. soldier during her interrogation. She has also been accused of working for Al-Qaeda. A New York court sentenced her to 86 years in prison in 2010.