Dr Aafia's release
US, Afghan consent needed to approach ICJ, court told
Friday, December 11, 2009
By Our Correspondent
A deputy attorney general on Thursday informed the Lahore High Court that the government, despite the court orders, could not approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the release of Pakistani American neurologist, Dr Aafia Siddiqi, and her two children from the illegal custody of America.
On behalf of the Federal Government and the Foreign Ministry, Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Naveed Inayat Malik informed the court that, being a signatory to some international treaties, Islamabad was unable to move the ICJ independently without the prior consent of America and Afghanistan, the countries involved in Dr Aafia's case. He, however, assured the court that the government was using diplomatic channels for the purpose.
Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry asked the DAG what consequences would be if Pakistan directly moved ICJ for Dr Aafia's release. The DAG insisted that Dr. Afia was not arrested and handed over to America by the Afghanistan government, not the Pakistani agencies. The judge disagreed with him, observing that, apparently, the Foreign Ministry was speaking the US language on the issue. The judge observed that circumstantial evidences and several media reports said Dr. Afia was arrested from Karachi and later handed over to America by the Pakistani government.
The judge adjourned until December 21 the hearing of a contempt petition against the government, seeking the repatriation of Dr. Afia.
The petition was filed by Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffree, submitting that the court had earlier directed the government to take action for the release and repatriation of Dr. Afia but it had not complied with the court orders. He said the court had also asked the government to move the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the release of Dr. Afia but the government did not comply with the order, too.
Barrister Iqbal said the government had engaged a panel of US lawyers on a huge fee for contesting case of Dr. Afia but did not bother to move ICJ which cost nothing.
He prayed to the court to initiate the contempt of court proceedings against the respondents for defying the court orders.
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