In a deeply poignant and emotional reunion, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui — a Pakistani national unjustly detained by US authorities on questionable allegations of terrorism — finally had the opportunity to meet her sister, Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui, after two decades of separation. 
The meeting, which took place on 31 May and was facilitated by her international lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith OBE, served as a stark reminder of the abject failure of both the US and Pakistani governments in delivering justice to Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and releasing her from prison. The celebrated scientist has been subjected to torture and abuse, and has languished in prison for two decades.
Bitter state of affairs
Despite the long-awaited meeting, the circumstances of the reunion were far from ideal.
During the meeting, Dr. Aafia and her sister were tragically kept apart by a glass barrier, preventing any prohibited physical contact between them.
This heartbreaking separation cruelly underscored the inhumane conditions and restrictions that have been imposed upon Dr. Aafia throughout her unjust confinement.
Furthermore, the visit highlighted the continued injustice faced by Dr. Aafia, as Dr. Fowzia was denied the opportunity to show pictures of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s own children, whom she has been unable to see or hear from for twenty years.
This cruel denial of a mother’s right to witness her children’s growth only served to deepen the profound pain and suffering endured to this day by Dr. Aafia and her family.
Physical scars, difficulty hearing, and loss of vision
According to Dr. Fowzia, Dr. Aafia was escorted into the guest area of the prison wearing a white hijab, a brown prison uniform, and white joggers.
Her upper teeth were missing from a 2021 prison assault and, as a result of the horrific beating she endured, had difficulty hearing. In the first hour of the bittersweet reunion, Dr. Aafia detailed the daily trauma she faced in the prison. 
And in a harrowing reflection of the wrongly imprisoned neuroscientist’s lack of up-to-date contact or information about loved ones, Dr. Aafia told Dr. Fowzia,
“I miss my family everyday. My mother, my father, you (my sister), my children, I think of them all the time.” 
Their father — also a medical doctor and surgeon — passed away some years ago, but this painful information has not been shared with Dr. Aafia for obvious reasons. 
Although the two sisters would go on to reminisce for two-and-a-half hours, the memories Dr. Aafia has of her family are permanently frozen at the time of her abduction and disappearance in 2003.
Dr. Fowzia and lawyer Clive Stafford Smith would go on to visit Dr. Aafia over the next two days, after which the pair would discuss what could be done to hasten the release of the respected neuroscientist and graduate of MIT and Brandeis universities.
Aafia: “When I think back, the biggest and best thing is my blood family. I think on how my big sister [@FowziaSiddiqui] was always SO patient.” But we pointed out that now she has a huge family which consists of most of Pakistan. @Aafiamovement @SenatorMushtaq @3DC_org— Clive Stafford Smith (@CliveSSmith) June 2, 2023
Representation by Pakistan’s ambassador to the US and Pakistani senator
In Washington D.C., Smith had meetings with Pakistani-Kashmiri diplomat Masood Khan, in his capacity as Ambassador to the US, in addition to Pakistani Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, to discuss the case of Dr. Aafia.
“It was deeply depressing, but nevertheless a privilege, to be present for this emotional reunion.
“But the importance of these visits is, as Aafia makes very clear, how can we get her home from the Hell of her current existence?” 
The case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is one of the darkest and most horrific examples of the horrors, injustices, and excesses of the United States’ so-called ‘War on Terror’.
With spurious allegations of terrorism, an arguable lack of due process, and the endurance of torture and abuse, Dr. Aafia has existed in a nightmarish black hole for the best part of twenty years. Sadly, the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is one among many to have encountered similar horrors.
Supporters, justice advocates, and human rights organisations have continuously raised concerns about her treatment and the disregard for her basic rights. The failure of the US and Pakistani governments to secure her release and to address the injustices inflicted upon her has been a source of international outrage.
Needless to say, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s plight represents a larger issue of systemic failures in the justice system, the violation of human rights, the need for governments to ensure the fair treatment and protection of individuals in their custody and, importantly, the brutal reality of the ridiculously titled War on Terror.
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s story stands as a powerful symbol of resilience and the ongoing struggle for justice and freedom, as her supporters continue to fight for her freedom and the restoration of her rights.
May Allah hasten her release and reunite her with her loved ones.
With PK Ambassador to the US Masood Khan & @SenatorMushtaq today in Washington discussing #LetFowziaBringAafiaHome @FowziaSiddiqui He was very supportive (& remembered 5 yrs ago when as President of Azad Kashmir he welcomed my cricket team there!) @Aafiamovement pic.twitter.com/QZK10yemym— Clive Stafford Smith (@CliveSSmith) June 5, 2023
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