Pakistan offered to trade Davis for Aafia Siddiqui: Report

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 14:18

Islamabad: The Pakistan government offered
to trade suspected CIA contractor Raymond Davis, arrested for
gunning down two men in Lahore, for Pakistani terror suspect
Aafia Siddiqui, who is currently serving a 86-year prison term
in the US, according to a media report.

The Pakistan government proposed trading Davis for
Siddiqui, an MIT-educated neuroscientist, but the offer was
immediately dismissed by the US administration, ABC News
quoted an unnamed senior American administration official and
a Pakistani official as saying.
Both officials were involved in negotiations to free
Davis. "The Pakistanis have raised it...We are not going to
pursue it," the US official said.

The proposal was the latest in a series of efforts to
break the impasse between the US and Pakistan over Davis, who
was arrested on January 27 after he shot and killed two armed
men he claimed were trying to rob him.

According to the Pakistani official, the Pakistan`s
government proposal called for Siddiqui to be transferred to
Pakistan, where she would serve the remainder of her sentence
in a Pakistani jail or under house arrest.

As per both the US and Pakistani officials, the US
government "quickly made it clear to Pakistan that they would
not entertain the possibility of trading Siddiqui for Davis".

The American official, who requested anonymity because
he was not authorised to speak on the record about the
negotiations, said the offer was not being considered by the
White House.

The Pakistani official directly involved in the
negotiations agreed, saying the proposal was a "non-starter"
for the US government.
Davis’ case became complicated after the Western media
revealed he was a security contractor working for the CIA.

Reports have suggested the two men he killed were
operatives of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

Siddiqui was convicted of trying to shoot FBI agents
and military officers in an Afghanistan police station in
2008.

She had been arrested the day before after being found
with a list of New York city landmarks and instructions on how
to construct explosives.

In 2004, FBI director Robert Mueller described
Siddiqui as an "Al Qaeda operative and facilitator".

The FBI had issued a global alert for Siddiqui and her
first husband in 2003 for their suspected ties to Al Qaeda.

Siddiqui later remarried an Al Qaeda operative who was
the nephew of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammed.

Her husband, Ammar al-Baluchi, is currently being
detained at Guantanamo Bay.

Siddiqui`s case has been raised with the US by
Pakistan’s top leaders, including Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani, who last year called for Siddiqui`s exoneration and
release.

Siddiqui was never charged with any terrorism-related
crimes.

Shortly after the FBI alert, she and her children
disappeared, only to surface in Afghanistan five years later.

Siddiqui has claimed she was held in secret American
prisons, including Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, but US
officials have consistently denied that she was ever in
American custody.
US and Pakistani officials told ABC News that the
White House had earlier threatened to close the three US
consulates in Pakistan and expel the Pakistani ambassador to
the US if Davis was not released.

Pakistan`s Ambassador Husain Haqqani has denied that
the White House made such threats.

Pakistani officials in Lahore and Islamabad told ABC
News that Davis` release is a "matter of time" and that the
Pakistan government is waiting for the public furor over the
case to wane before releasing the American.

One Pakistani official said that one likely outcome
would be that the US government would pay reparations to the
victims` families, who under Pakistan law can pardon Davis if
asked.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 14:18

More from zeenews

 
comments powered by Disqus