On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia beheaded the 8th Pakistani in a few short weeks. This is remarkable for a number of reasons, but the one thing I am thinking about today is how different the reaction is to these cases and the case of Aafia Siddiqui who was convicted of terrorism and sentenced to prison.
In the case of Aafia Siddiqui, the Government of Pakistan approved millions to pay for her defence, and she was given a full public trial. Even after the trial, the state has continually tried to secure her release. Public rallies are held for her and she is termed as “the nation’s daughter’.
Then there are the others. The nameless Pakistanis who we have abandoned to be beaheaded in a Saudi Arabia. The Foreign Office has been silent on these cases. Are they less Pakistani than Aafia Siddiqui?
By all counts, Aafia Siddiqui has been treated better by the Americans than the countless Pakistanis who have been beheaded by Saudi Arabia. At a minimum, even if she is languishing in prison, Aafia has her life and some hope of returning to her country is not given up.
What does this say about not only our government, but our society that we will defend without question someone who was tried and sentenced to prison for terrorism in one country, but we do not even blink an eye when others are quickly and mercilessly killed for lesser crimes in another country?