I've been meaning to post an update on the Aafia Siddiqui story, which seems to have grown a bit cold in the U.S. Not so in Pakistan, where there are continuing calls for the release and return of Siddiqui. Her ex-husband, Dr Muhammad Amjad Khan, recently spoke out about his ex-wife and their children. Aafia and Khan lived for several years in Boston, while she attended MIT and her huband was an anesthesiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Khan wrote a letter to the editor to Dawn magazine last December (2008), making a number of statements about the case, including these:
- After their divorce, Aafia would not let him see their three children.
- Khan was concerned that Aafia's political ambitions would be detrimental to the children's welfare.
- Aafia's mother lied in a sworn deposition (August 2003), stating that the FBI told the family that Aafia and the children were safe with them (FBI). Khan said the FBI told the family that they were looking for Aafia and didn't know where the children were.
- Aafia's uncle, S. H. Faruqi, published an article saying that he met Aafia in January 2008, her face was altered by plastic surgery and that she had a national ID card under a fictitious name.
- Aafia's sister Fauzia was given custody of 12-year old son Ahmad. Khan wants to know why he wasn't given custody of his own child. The family hasn't let Khan see his own son.
Excerpts from this wrenching letter:
"....Knowing the Siddiqui family's intentions and attitude, I have no alternative left but to seek legal help for his custody. Why has Dr Fowzia been telling the media and government officials that my and my family's whereabouts were not known, whereas in reality we had been frequently contacting her in connection with Ahmad. The government officials too did not bother to find out who the real and legal guardians of Ahmad were."
"As of today, two of the children still need to be found. The truth does matter. If what the Siddiquis are saying is true, then whoever kidnapped Aafia and the children needs to be held responsible. I am still trying to locate and rescue my two younger children whose lives are in terrible jeopardy. I appeal to the nation to come forward and help in this regard before it is too late."
I cannot imagine the anguish of this father. Khan also gave an in-depth interview with The International News that was published yesterday (2-18-2009):
"KARACHI: After six years of silence, Dr Muhammad Amjad Khan, ex-husband of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, has finally spoken up and says that most of the press reports that relate to his former wife as well as his children are false. In an exclusive talk with The News, he said that most claims are being propagated to garner public support and sympathy for Dr Aafia but are one-sided and in most instances untrue."
More on that interview later today!
Previous blogposts on Aafia Siddiqi here (scroll down).