The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Raja Pervez Ashraf, announced the formation of a special committee headed by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to look into the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
The Prime Minister took the decision in a meeting with Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General of USA and Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, the sister of Dr Afia, who called on him at the PM House here in Islamabad. Other proposed members of the committee include ministers for law, interior and human rights. (for more, see here)
Dr. Aafia's family has reacted cautiously to the Prime Minister's proposed committee to secure Dr. Aafia's release. The committee will be a welcome development if it acts seriously to achieve results rather than being another paper entity whose sole purpose is to be a press release to delay and diffuse the matter once again. The actions required of the Pakistani government are not difficult nor complicated but they do require principle, boldness and urgency. Based on the discussions between former US attorney general, Ramsey Clark, Prime Minsiter Ashraf and Dr. Fauzia, the committee should be able to accomplish its actions within a week if it is to be considered genuine.
Failure to act within this reasonable time frame would just confirm that those in control of the government remain unable or unwilling to seek Aafia's repatriation.
A failure will also further erode confidence in an establishment that unfortunately uses committees, commissions and resolutions only as a means to gloss over serious problems rather than actually work towards actionable solutions and real results. As Mr. Clark reminded us all, Aafia's repatriation is a relatively simple matter if approached confidently and correctly. Yet, if the government is unable to act resolutely on something simple, it will be clear that there is no ability to deal with more complex matters like drones, load shedding, security, law and order, education, healthcare, separation of Baluchistan, fragmentation of a national identity, religious intolerance, abuse of women and minorities and the list goes on...