Sunday September 24, 2023

Commuters caught in hours-long snarl-ups as rally demands Aafia Siddiqui’s release

October 09, 2021
Commuters caught in hours-long snarl-ups as rally demands Aafia Siddiqui’s release

As the participants of a rally in Karachi on Friday demanded of the Biden administration to order the immediate release and return of Pakistani scientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui and to let her family communicate with her via video calls, tens of thousands of commuters remained stuck in traffic jams for hours on several main arteries of the city.

The protesters of the rally, which created massive traffic jams in most parts of District South, intended to march from the Karachi Press Club towards the US Consulate to raise the issue of the detention of Siddiqui, but a big contingent of police personnel did not allow them to do so.

However, leaders of the rally in a memorandum submitted to the US Consulate at the end of the rally demanded that President Joe Biden should use the power of his presidential pardon and consider the case of Siddiqui as a victim of the US war on terror.

Earlier, various political and social leaders addressed the participants of the rally. They included: Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s sister Fauzia Siddiqui, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MPA Saeed Afridi, Pasban leader Altaf Shakoor, retired Justice Wajihuddin Ahmad, Jamaat-e-Islami former MPA Younas Barai, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Organisation Restoration Committee chief Dr Farooq Sattar, the Pak Sarzameen Party’s Shamshad Siddiqui and the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-Faz’s Aslam Ghouri.

Vowing to continue their struggle till the safe return of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, speakers said the nation wanted the return of its daughter at all costs. Until her release, Siddiqui should be given the freedom to contact her family by telephone and video calls, and her security in jail should be ensured, the memorandum submitted at the US Consulate demanded. “As a symbol of goodwill and Pak-US friendship, Aafia’s case should once again be viewed with full sympathy and impartiality as a demonstration of human dignity, strength and courage,” it demanded.

Because of the rally, traffic came to a halt on various thoroughfares in District South, making life miserable for commuters. In anticipation of the rally, police had sealed all roads leading to the US Consulate before the Friday prayers. A large number of police personnel had been deployed around the roads leading to the consulate.