Pakistan set to bring Dr Aafia Siddiqui back home as cabinet approves signing of exchange of prisoners’ treaty with US, Europe

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Wednesday approved signing of the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, directing the Interior Minister to make arrangements for the early return of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, Dispatch News Desk reported.

The meeting was held in Islamabad on Wednesday with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the chair.

On Tuesday, the interior ministry dispatched a summary to the cabinet division seeking approval of the federal cabinet for an agreement for the repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

“Approval for signing the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and attaining accession to this convention, request to the US government for repatriation of Ms Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan,” the cabinet agenda included.

Dr Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in prison in 2010 after she was convicted of grabbing a US soldier’s assault rifle and trying to shoot a group of FBI agents and soldiers at an Afghan police compound in July 2008.

She denied the charge against her during the trial. However, the US officials suggested that she was an al Qaeda agent, a claim her family and many in Pakistan believe was just a cover-up.

She is being held at the notorious Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Carswell, Texas, where she is kept in the Special Housing Unit (SHU), which is the most severe confinement category.