IHC summons senior official of Foreign Office in Dr. Afia Saddiqui case

ISLAMABAD (APP):The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday expressed dissatisfaction on report of Foreign Officer pertaining to Dr. Afia Saddiqui and summoned joint secretary of the department in person on next hearing.

Justice Aamer Farooq of IHC conducted hearing on a case filed by Dr. Fauzia Saddiqui seeking efforts to bring Afia Saddiqui back from US’s custody.

At the outset of hearing, Deputy Attorney General Raja Khalid Mehmood submitted detailed report of foreign office to the court regarding the matter. The report said that a counselor general meeting was arranged on December 15, with Afia Saddiqui. However, the jail officials informed that she didn’t want to meet them.

The report said that a meeting was held with Afia Saddiqui on September 24, and she told that her COVID-19 test was found negative. It further said that the meetings with prisoners were remained suspended last year due to COVID-19 outbreak.

It stated that the foreign office was in contact with the jail officials regarding the updates about the health of Dr. Afia. 

The report said that US Justice Department had informed that a prisoner itself could file request against her sentence on compassionate grounds through jail warden or mail service. It was only a solution without the lawyer that the prisoner herself filed appeal, it said.

The deputy attorney general told the bench that the report was comprising the consular access to Afia, her health condition and other matters. Our consular used to visit her in jail every month, he said.

The court asked that whether the government was raising this matter to the new US set up.

The petitioner’s lawyer adopted the stance that Dr. Afia Saddiqui was arrested from an area of Peshawar.

The bench asked that whether the Pakistan discussed the matter with American government. He asked foreign office to send a senior official on next hearing to brief the court regarding the government’s measures for recovery of Dr. Afia.

The bench observed that it was the responsibility of the state to protect the lives and property of its citizens. This case was filed four years ago but we were still standing at the same place, Justice Farooq noted.

The court directed the foreign office to satisfy the bench with relevant documents. The petitioner’s lawyer said that the prisoners were brought back from UAE, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

After this, the court adjourned hearing of the case till February 10, with above instructions.