An Open Letter
FROM: Concerned US Citizens
TO: President Barack Hussain Obama & Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
We, the undersigned write in reference to Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani citizen with no legal status in the United States. Despite the representations of the government of Pakistan that it seeks Dr. Siddiqui’s repatriation to her homeland, we are deeply concerned that she continues to suffer needlessly in a U.S. federal prison thousands of miles from her family and country. We are also very concerned about her deteriorating physical and mental health throughout her excruciating ten year ordeal.
In the past, both governments had missed several opportunities to reunite Dr. Siddiqui with her family. For example, two years ago, U.S. government intelligence contractor Raymond Davis unjustifiably killed two Pakistani citizens in broad daylight in Pakistan. The U.S. government demanded his repatriation, and Dr. Siddiqui’s family and legal counsel requested that thetransfer should only be made if Dr. Siddiqui was also repatriated to Pakistan. Unfortunately, the leaders of Pakistan at the time failed to take any action to secure Dr. Siddiqui’s return.
As US citizens we are deeply disappointed by the lack of concern shown by our own successive administrations, first the Bush Administration and now the Obama Administration, for the endless suffering of this highly talented MIT and Brandies laureate cognitive neuroscientist and educationist. The continued mistreatment of this most highly educated Muslim female on a series of shifting charges exposes our support for Ms Malala Yousafzai as insincere and merely a propaganda tool in the so-called war on terror (that is being perceived by many as a war to recolonize the Muslim world). We are also saddened that her children in Pakistan have had to spend the past 10 years separated from their mother – their pleas for help to return their mother to them have so far been ignored.
With the recent election of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, we are heartened by the representations of the new government that it would finally take steps to facilitate Dr. Siddiqui's return to Pakistan. At this historical juncture, when both governments are seeking to turn a new page in their relationship, there are multiple options for a positive resolution to this tragic case that would result in the repatriation of Dr. Siddiqui within legal frameworks that would provide enormous benefit to the image of the U.S. in Pakistan and across the Muslim world and the region. Such positive winning of hearts and minds can only help bring about a better climate of trust and cooperation.
Accordingly, we urge our own government, the Obama administration, to take immediate action and make a firm commitment to end the decade-long injustice and send Dr. Siddiqui home before the end of 2013.
1. Hon Ramsey Clark - The 66th US Attorney General
2. Senator Mike Gravel - US Senator from 1969-1981
3. Hon Paul Findley - US Congressperson from 1961-1983
4. Hon Cynthia McKinney - 6 Term US Congressperson, and Green Party's candidate for US President
5. Hon Gamila - State Senator, St. Louis, Missiouri
6. Hon Ako Abdul-Samad - Iowa State Representative
7. Dr. John Esposito - Chairman, Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding
8. Sara Flounders - Co-director, International Action Center
9. Steve Downs, Executive Director, National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms
10. Nahla Al-Arian, Coordinator, National Liberty Fund
11. El-Hajj Mauri' Saalakhan - Director, Peace Thru Justice Foundation
12. Mr. Mark Hinkle - Chairman, California Civil Rights Alliance
13. Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Toor - Chairman, Pakistani American Congress
14. Dr Zahid Bukhari - Director, AMA-Foundation
15. Imam Shakir Elsayed - Chairman, Universal Justice Foundation
16. Imam Zaid Shakir - Imam, Lighthouse Mosque
17. Shahid Comrade - Secretary General, Pakistan-USA Freedom Forum
18. Imam Mahdi Bray - National Director, American Muslim Alliance
19. Shafi Refai - President, United Muslims of America
20. Muhammad Salim Akhtar - Executive Director, American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections
21. Raja Yaqub - Vice President, Pakistan American National Alliance
22. Amer Chaudhary - National Director, Pakistan American Democratic Forum
23. Syed Adeeb - CEO, Adeeb Media
24. Imam Khalid Griggs, Chairman, ICNA Council of Social Justice
25. Akhtar Umrani, President, Mehran Society
26. Arshad Umrani, President, Baloch Strategy Forum
27. Dr. Agha Saeed - CEO, AMA Foundation