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By Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey (Retd) Former Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chairman BOG Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad


Dear General Colin L. Powell


I am addressing this letter on the strength that we both held same appointments at the same time in our respective countries. Your very fine and considerate letter on my relinquishing Chairman JCSC on 9th November 1991 rests in my record and reminds me of the cordial relations that existed between the two countries.

Since then you have indeed provided sterling leadership to your country as Chairman Joint Chiefs and as the Secretary of State.  For that I wish to commend and congratulate you. In the discharge of your onerous duties as the Secretary of State you had to support war in Iraq on the basis of false report about WMD that you were not aware of.  I heard your anguish in one of your interviews. I fully understand and share the feelings. A true warrior fights with all his capability in a belum justum not otherwise

Since 1979 Pakistan has been in a state of war without its own choosing. It has suffered in so many ways that it is impossible to quantify it. After the exit of erstwhile USSR from Afghanistan and its subsequent disintegration the world has changed and shall never be same again.  I see this planet heading for a disaster unless personalities of your stature and integrity come to its aid. This is a subject of vide vista.

I come to the real purpose of this letter. That relates to human compassion. You might have come to know of it through the media. Though unlikely.  It is summarized:

  1. Dr Afia Siddiqui is a Ph D from MIT. In 2003 she left her home in Karachi with three children youngest being of six months for Airport to take a flight to Islamabad. She had informed her uncle about her travel.
  2. She did not reach the Airport as she was kidnapped by people unknown.
  3. Her mother started enquiring about her whereabouts from the local authorities.
  4. When she became persistent in her endeavour she was told on telephone to stop pursuing otherwise her daughter would be killed
  5. The effort continued without success till it was learned in 2008 that she had been arrested roaming in a street in Kabul.

Those who care for the humanity started investigating the case and it came to light that she had been in Bagram Airbase since her kidnapping under the command of an USA Air force General. Her cries were heard by other prisoner inmates and she was seen. It has been deposed by a witness shifted to GITMO and released subsequently.  I wonder if the Base Commander could allow it. A clear violation of his oath and American Constitution. He let her be  abused, tortured and degraded

After the pressure started building she was transferred to the USA. Her humiliations have been well covered in the media in Pakistan. I however saw no mention of it in CNN or Washington Post. Obviously the matter is intended to be kept away from the right thinking American people.

She was brought to trial in New York on the charge of firing at the Marines her interrogators after she was arrested in 2008 in Kabul. She is no more than 100 lbs and 4 ½ ft in height being interrogated by 6-8 US personnel. The whole scenario is clearly untenable.

She has been adjudged guilty and sentence is scheduled to be announced in May 2010.

A serious movement has been started here by human rights association and will most certainly be joined by the political parties. If any punishment is awarded in May as intended. It would be like adding fuel to the fire. The so called war on terror go up in smoke. This movement will gather strength. It will not be in the interest of our two countries. I therefore request you to kindly do whatever is best to save the situation. I request that she be repatriated to Pakistan before May 2010 judgment is announced.

Notwithstanding the degrading treatment meted out to Pakistanis at the immigration in the USA. If it could help I am willing to come to the US.

I may also request you to place the plea for her release before the President of the United States of America.

With profound regards and best wishes


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