US showing ‘no leniency’ on Pak terror-suspect Aafia Siddiqui to end Davis’ detention

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

WASHINGTON - Despite the US-Pakistan standoff on double murder-accused Raymond Davis’ detention issue that threatens to derail their partnership in the war against terror, the Americans are showing no leniency on Pakistani neuroscientist and alleged Al-Qaida operative Aafia Siddiqui, who is currently serving 86 years in federal prison for attempted murder.

The Americans seem willing to discuss Pakistan’s demand for sharing CIA’s activities in the country with them, “provided the Pakistanis also shared relevant information”, the Dawn quoted a diplomatic source, as saying.

“But on Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the Americans are showing no leniency,” the source said, adding, “They have informed Pakistan that they are not even going to pursue it.”

According to diplomatic sources, the Obama administration has rejected Pakistan’s proposal to trade Davis for Aafia.

Pakistan discussed the proposal at “the highest level” in the Obama administration but was told that this was “a non-starter”, they added.

The proposal called for Aafia to be transferred to Pakistan, where she would serve the remainder of her sentence in a prison or under house arrest, in exchange for the release of Davis, who has been detained by Pakistan authorities since late January for shooting dead two men, allegedly in self-defence.

Since his arrest, both sides have discussed various proposals to break the impasse but have not yet succeeded in doing so. The proposals include quashing a case against the ISI chief in a New York court and curtailing the CIA’s activities in Pakistan.

Another proposal calls for the US government to pay reparations to the victims’ families, who can pardon Davis under Pakistan law if asked.

Meanwhile, a court in New York has accepted a petition against ISI chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha for his spy agency’s alleged involvement in the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, in which some US citizens were also killed.

Diplomatic sources claim that the US administration appears willing to claim sovereign immunity for the ISI chief in this case, provided Pakistan also granted diplomatic immunity to CIA contractor Davis, the report said.

“At one stage, the Americans were going to file papers in the court, stating that the ISI chief enjoyed sovereign immunity but decided not to do so after Mr Davis’s arrest,” an official source said.

The arrest of another alleged CIA operative in Peshawar for over-staying his visa has further annoyed the Americans, who point out that more than 100,000 Pakistanis were living in the United States after the expiry of their visas.

“The Americans seem to indicate that they too can start deporting Pakistani citizens,” the source added. (ANI)

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