‘Getting Aafia back needs unified voice of nation’
By Asad Farooq
KARACHI: The third massive convention entitled ‘Karwan-e-Ghairat’ seeking repatriation of Dr Aafia, a Pakistani scientist sentenced in the US, was held by Aafia Movement, here on Sunday.
A large number of Aafia Movement activists and likeminded students, social activists and civil society members were holding banners and placards inscribed with demands for the restoration of national integrity.
Addressing the convention, Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, sister of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, said, “Our acceptance of our humiliation is the root of our problems.” She said until we unite to restore our dignity, we would continue to disintegrate as a nation.
She said that getting Dr Aafia required nothing, no military concessions, no financial hardship and no territorial compromise, but only the unified voice of a nation and national will. She said the daughter of the nation and pride of Pakistan was humiliated.
Dr Fauzia said that honour and dignity are blessings from Allah, the Almighty. “Humiliation and collective apathy are curses that eat away a society like termites destroy a superficially solid structure.” She said the collective tolerance of the disgrace of how we treat our daughters, how we ignore illegal disappearances, how we marginalise our minorities and how we have become indifferent to daily killings like Lyari, Gilgit, Kashmir, drones, etc has brought us to our present state of insecurity, distrust and lawlessness.
She lamented that our rulers remain criminally indifferent to this cause and similarly to the national crises in general, but the public’s lack of demanding meaningful sustained accountability is also incriminating. She also said that it was unfair to lay everything at the feet of the current government.
Dr Siddiqui was of the view that the credit for kidnapping Dr Aafia went to our previous dictator, whose actions had tarnished our military and created a rift between the people and our brave soldiers.
She noted that when a genuine national voice of the people emerges with sincerity, the world would start to listen to what we have to say as Pakistanis.
Talking about Dr Aafia, she said that Aafia had become a symbol of hope for this nation and now even beyond. She said: “Dr Aafia had a dream of an educated Pakistan and books in the hands of every child, but unfortunately enemies, through a designed conspiracy, had put guns in the hands of nation’s upcoming generation. She also said that the response she was getting from overseas and private contacts suggested that the gross injustice done to her sister was getting wider recognition.
On the appeal of Dr Fauzia, a moment of silence was observed to honour the martyrs of Siachen and Salala check-post incidents.
Pasban president Altaf Shakoor and other representatives of various segments of society also expressed their views.