Gumnaam - Nameless Seekers of Justice
Monday, May 24, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Dr Afia's case has similarities, though she has not found a Zola yet to defend her. Dr Afia too is an outsider, and nothing more than this case brings home how much
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The conviction prevents the executive branch of the US government from intervening. Therefore no matter how much effort the Pakistani government puts in on a diplomatic level, the conviction cannot be reversed through political or diplomatic means. This is the system of the separation of powers under the US constitution.
So the question is what should be done to bring Dr Afia to Pakistan given that notwithstanding the merits of the case it has become an emotional issue for the people of Pakistan and political parties, putting further pressure on the government to ‘force’ America to return Dr Afia.
Under these circumstances there are three legal options available to the Pakistani government.
Firstly the government can provide or further strengthen the legal team so that they can file an appeal against the conviction and also the forthcoming sentence.
In the appeal the lawyers need to question the inadequacy of ...
Saturday, February 13, 2010
What many commentators like Paracha do not seem to understand, or perhaps ignore, is that Dr. Aafia's case is not the case of one woman or one prisoner alone, defending it stands to not defend her guilt but the plight of prisoners in Guantanamo, Bagram and other jails where prisoners are kept under inhumane conditions, with no real crime necessarily under their belt but the "belief" that they are terrorists. We do not need enough evidence than the one that already exists in the cases of Abu-Ghuraib torture evidence, conditions in Guantanamo and in the stories of Moazzam Beg and Binyam Muhammad to know that the struggle throughout the world, not just in the Muslim world but on the streets from London to San Francisco is in defence of "justice" to those who suffer inhumane torture not allowed under any law in the world. What is not being understood is that defending such a case stands to show or inculcate in a nation is enough emotions or sympathy to feel for their fellow countrymen/women whether it is at the hands of the US, any other random country in the world or their very own governments.
The case of Dr. Aafia was first brought massively into media's eyes by the help of Yvonne Ridley, Tehreek-e-Insaaf and Jamaat-e-Islami and it only makes sense for them to continue their campaign when the case they have been speaking about is given a guilty verdict. I would assume that Paracha and others would agree that a campaign left undone or quietly forgotten and the shoddiness in that attitude is some thing we do not want to see in any of the parties in our country. When people point out that Prisoner 650 was actually not Dr. Aafia, they seem to ignore that that only means that there is another Prisoner 650 out there whose voice is still unheard, who still remains nameless. Defending a case such as that of Dr. Aafia's IS defending the many women, and not just men, who have been victims of the war on terror too.
If Paracha and all the writers he has mentioned, writers of blogs like Teeth Maestro and many more, seem bitter about the fact that Dr. Aafia's case is getting a forefront (Oh at last after 6 years but may be that's too early for them too) but not other victims - the argument sounds just as shallow when we think of a protest in London against war on terrorism and us saying oh but why dont they worry about their unemployment and the victims of suicide and hunger before worrying about others. Ofcourse in that case its the gora taking the rally out so we are so proud of their intellect and sympathy and passion for causes, but in our case every one who rants about a Dr. Aafia must clearly be a jihadist, a conservative, a religious fanatic or someone who is "ideologically bankrupt." And then we wonder why we havent "progressed" like the West - possibly because we can't think out-of-the-box when thinking about our own people and the causes and concerns that surround it.
I wrote the following in response to: "Aafia: myth, mystery and Taliban" which was written by Mr. M. Ashfaq in Dawn Editorial on February 11th, 2010.
This letter is in response to the letter titled “Aafia: myth, mystery and Taliban” posted by Mr. Ashraf (Canada) which appeared on February 11, 2010. With the events building up since the tragic 9/11, the situation in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the world in general is so complicated that we often find it hard to unleash ourselves from what we have been naturalized into believing and how we unknowingly misunderstand the laments around a story such as that of Dr. Aafia.
I quote the original letter:
Most Pakistanis consider her a courageous patriotic hero who has withstood years of torture in Bagram, Afghanistan and as such she is a victim of wrong persecution because little is known about her ambitions and activities after her arrival in Karachi and her confinement in prison which has not yet been proved correct.
Irrespective of the fact whether she is ‘Terror Mom’ or ‘Lady Al - Qaeda’, we have to think and decide if we want to support Taliban and Jihadi elements in our society and support irresponsible killing of innocent people.
It is undoubtedly true that during the time we are living in our sense of loyalty to humanity should be based on denying terrorism at the hands of not only the West but also factions within our society. However, what I would like to point out is that the issue around Dr. Aafia’s case is not so much about whether she was a terrorist or a Taliban or not but as to how a “terrorist” was treated and how justice was denied to a prisoner on all levels.
The letter also says:
If she was a prisoner (650), why did the FBI not charge her? And why was not she put on trial?
According to the FBI, she was arrested in July 2008 by the Afghan police outside a government compound in Ghazi with a handbag full of chemicals and information on chemical and biological weapons and some documents about potential targets in the USA. She was taken to the police station for interrogation when the alleged incident of firing on US personal happened. This also contradicts her confinement in Bagram Air Base as Prisoner 650.
If the FBI abducted her from Karachi airport and locked her up in a secret prison (Bagram Base) in Afghanistan for six years, there must be some allegations and charges against her for being involved in extremist activities and as such she should be a high - profile prisoner who could not be ignored for six years.
The letter dated Feb 11th believes that Dr. Aafia was imprisoned in 2008. However, a Newsweek article dated June 23, 2003 had already reported of her arrest. Further, the writer of the letter sounds confused when he asks why she was not charged if she was allegedly arrested in 2003 and if she was in fact arrested then, there must be good enough reason to kidnap her.
Dr. Ashraf makes a logical connection when he believes that when the FBI abducted her six years ago, there must be some allegations and charges against her. Unfortunately however, “allegations” and “charges” do not allow for a prisoner to remain in a jail for six years with the agencies involved completely denying that they ever imprisoned her at all. Furthermore, it does not allow for her children to be lost along with her or the sexual assault and psychological pressures a prisoner has to go through whether male or female.
There is a distinction between supporting the Taliban and between supporting a prisoner’s right to the Universal Human Rights declaration. In the UK yesterday a case was won in the courts whereby it was proven that the UK government and Mi5 were hiding reports of Binyam Muhammad’s torture in Guantanamo with collusion of his country’s government. If the UK can allow prisoners of war on terror a chance to speak-up albeit amongst challenges, we as Pakistanis should also be able to accept that a human needs to be treated a human irrespective of his or her status being that of a criminal or a prisoner.
I submitted the above letter in response to the original letter, in Dawn's editorial and await its submission. Let's see if it does get printed.