The Curious Case of Aafia Siddiqui and the Conspiracy Theorists

By: Ahmed Naqvi

Aafia Siddiqui’s legal case has done its round in Pakistan’s media. From the anti-government newspaper The Nation, to the relatively liberal and seemingly unbiased Dawn, everyone has taken a swipe at this jaw-dropping, mind-numbing political situation. Yes, political situation. Though her curious case may have been shrouded under a dark cloud, the manner in which the opponents of this government have turned her case into a ticking time bomb is truly disgusting.

Recently a protest was carried out in Gujranwala at the behest of the Jamaat-e-Islami. Why? They wanted to “condemn” the jury decision made by a US court, which went against their wishes. I have no complaints with holding a protest, it is a privilege we all share given by our constitution, but tell me, how many of the protestors knew the details surrounding the case? Is it not ironic that people argue for the supremacy and sovereignty of courts in their own country, but “condemn” the courts of another? Furthermore, you want the United States to be respectful, but all you can do is burn the US Flag and effigies of their political leaders. Practice what you preach; it is really not that hard.

It is unfortunate that whenever Pakistan is mentioned in the media, we seem to be under a cloud of negative news stories. With the amount of media covering the case, one would think that Mrs. Siddiqui would take the opportunity and prove her innocence on an emotional front. What did she end up doing? Much to the delight of Zaid Hamid, Aafia Siddiqui lambasted Israel and Zionism (which has nothing to do with her legal case) and refused assistance provided by her government. I find it truly amazing that the MIT graduate did not take a smarter route and ended up looking like well – not innocent.

What is more regrettable in such situations is not the outcry we witness in Pakistan but the instigators who enjoy making the situation a political mountain. These nincompoops play with the emotions and sentiments of the Pakistani nation. One of them seems to be enjoying the spotlight with a fashion designer, while the other is nothing short of a brilliant fable writer. You guessed them – Zaid Hamid and Ahmed Quraishi. Zaid Hamid is a comic story and it is hilarious to see how he is making rounds in schools and colleges promoting the Pakistan Allama Iqbal envisioned. It is an insult, that a character as shady and repulsive as Hamid’s, is trying to create parallels with one of our most noble and revered leaders.

To truly understand the fable writing of Ahmed Quraishi, one only needs to go through his website and find all the predictions he has made. Sadly, none of them have come true. How I wish they had, it would have saved me some research and allowed me to concentrate elsewhere! Working in collaboration with The Nation, Mr. Quraishi has gone to great lengths slinging mud on diplomats, bureaucrats and elected officials. Singing a populist tone, he lambasts the United States for constant drone attacks, but refuses to pen a single word against the Pakistan Army who has sanctioned such strikes. He loathes Anne Patterson and the United States with a passion, but had no issues applying for employment opportunities with US companies. Does he truly think that he is our messiah by making himself look like a fool?

The Nation enjoyed the verdict against Aafia Siddiqui. Using the political storm created by the case, the paper blasted their favorite punching bag, Ambassador Haqqani and the federal government for not securing the release of Aafia Siddiqui. It is strange that they would think that an Ambassador has the ability to give an innocent verdict and advocate a criminal case. It was the same logic that led them to believe Mr. Haqqani wrote the Kerry-Lugar Bill!

In a recent article, Kaswar Klasara articulates that Mr. Haqqani flew all the way from the United States to the PM Secretariat in order to clear his position after he badly failed to pursue Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s case efficiently. Mr. Klasara believes we live in a day and age without any telephones or emails. Surely, Mr. Haqqani could have made a simple phone call to PM Gilani instead of enduring a grueling fifteen hour flight?

Also, how could The Nation possibly publish an article without calling for the Ambassador’s resignation? Using information from his beloved “source”, Klasara states the Presidency and PM Secretariat were proposed by certain quarters to replace Hussain Haqqani by a suitable career-diplomat. Now this rings a bell! Oh yes, it was Ahmed Quraishi and his little gang sitting at their writers cubicle in The Nation offices some time ago, creating a rumor where Mr. Haqqani was being removed within 48 hours. That “time ago” was October last year.

Stop the hate Mr. Quraishi and Mr. Hamid! Nothing good can possibly come out of it. All you guys are doing is taking advantage of the gossip and drawing room politic culture present in Pakistan by instigating downright lies. Fuelling conspiracy theories is not the solution to the problems we face today. It is not going to help anyone’s cause. This path of destruction that you two are leading conservatives on is not going to stop the militants from blowing up another school in Peshawar or them killing a few innocent civilians in Karachi. Too many lives have been lost; too many politics have been played. Stop indulging in these malicious activities; it is time you two started acting with some maturity and dignity.

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