After the guilty verdict against Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman charged with attempted murder in the U.S, was announced, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, her attorney, told reporters outside the Federal Court House in New York Wednesday that government of Pakistan had put a gag order on Dr. Siddiqui’s family as a pre-condition to release her son, Ahmed.
Despite all the bravado of Pakistani officials implying that Dr. Siddiqui would be released, this verdict ensures that she will spend a few more decades in U.S. custody.
Sharp told reporters that her client, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was picked up by ISI on March 29, 2003 in Karachi. They arrived in two black cars and placed Siddiqui in one car and the children in another car.
Dr. Siddiqui says that she was immediately hooded and drugged and when she woke up she was tied to a gurney in a place that could not have been Karachi because the air was very dry.
Sharp also discussed the issue of the missing children. She said that the baby was reported killed during the arrest, but Dr. Siddiqui does not know if the girl, Maryam, who would now be 11 years old, is alive or not.
Dr. Siddiqui was shown a picture of her baby laying in a pool of blood.
American reporters continued to find Dr.Siddiqui’s claims incredulous and questioned Sharp on the plausibility. Do you really believe her?, a reporter asked Sharp. “Yes!”, she replied categorically.
Sharp said that a gag order was placed on the family by the Government of Pakistan, who made this a pre-condition for the release of the oldest child Ahmed. This is why no one from the family has been able to talk openly about what may have happened to her and her children for 5 years.
Many reporters have also said that a Pakistani official who frequented the proceedings and told them “off the record” that Dr. Siddiqui was actually part of an Al-Qaeda sleeper cell.
Many legal observers have questioned if there was a conflict of interest in the Government of Pakistan paying for the defense when they themselves are implicated in her kidnapping.
Dr. Siddiqui, according to her attorney, requested all her supporters not to engage in any violence in protest against the verdict.