Dr. Aafia’s son freed by Kabul, flown to Islamabad

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Monday, September 22, 2008

The 12-year-old son of neuroscientist and MIT graduate Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, Mohammad Ahmed, was handed over to his aunt Fauzia Siddiqui in Islamabad after years of detention in a US military base in Afghanistan. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is still currently facing trial charged with attempting to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. Siddiqui and her three children disappeared after leaving her parent's house in Karachi on 30th March, 2003. She was married to a nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the September 11 attacks. Her husband was captured in 2003 and is now held at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. In 2004, Dr. Aafia was identified by the FBI as an “Al-Qaeda operative and facilitator who posed a clear and present danger to America".

Mohammad Ahmed's mother, Aafia Siddiqui.

Mohammad Ahmed was only six when he and his mother, brother and sister were abducted from Karachi in 2003 and later handed over to US authorities. Dr. Fauzia told journalists after the boy had been given to her by officials of the interior ministry and intelligence agencies. She gave a written statement to the officials expressing her gratitude to the Pakistani nation, President of Pakistan Asif ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Advisor on Interior Rehman Malik, Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah and the National Assembly and Senate for freeing the boy.

Mohammad Ahmed arrived at the Benazir International Airport in Islamabad from Kabul in a PIA flight and was taken to his aunt’s residence. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan co-chairman Iqbal Haider said that the daughter of Dr. Aafia was also in Afghanistan. He regretted that despite having U.S. nationality, the U.S. government did nothing for the release of its four citizens, stating that “this is [a] severe violation of the US laws and constitution.”

Muhammad Ahmed landed back to his home in Karachi from where he had disappeared five years back, with his family, Dr. Fauzia and her family hoping that the other two missing children would also be back home soon, by taking some positive steps from the Government of Pakistan.