Newspaper Articles

Illegitimate daughters —by Gulmina Bilal Ahmad

Why is there not an uproar for the woes of the daughters of Pakistan who were stoned in Swat and, presently, in Orakzai Agency? Daughters like Mukhtaran Mai, of course, are not comparable with American daughters of Pakistani origin like Aafia because, perhaps, the former are illegitimate

A cartoon is truly worth a thousand columns, protests and articles. This week, a cartoon proclaiming Faisal Shahzad to be the ‘son of Pakistan’ said it all. As expected, every visible and invisible beard in the country is falling over backwards to appear more enraged than the other over the imagined slight. Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the proclaimed daughter of Islam, the ummah and Pakistan, has already succeeded in igniting passion and indignation in the country. At the time of writing these words, the Afghan Taliban have already kidnapped a British development worker from Afghanistan as a “means of revenge for Aafia”. Calls for walks and protests have been given by parliamentarians who have already staged the first walk against the sentence. There have even been calls by some circles to sever ties with the US and NATO over the pronouncement of a sentence to this ‘daughter’. Interestingly, the MQM has declared that if they were in government, they would have severed all diplomatic relations with the US. The question that begs to be answered is: if they are not in the government, then who is? But I digress.

The newspapers are full of reports about the statements coming from Aafia’s family. Such is the self-assessed interest of the media in this issue that one of the papers ran a front page story on who Aafia’s family is talking to and who is being denied this honour. Apparently, the decision at the highest level has also been taken to send a parliamentary delegation to the US, including Dr Aafia’s sister, to lodge a protest. This is in addition to flying in her team of lawyers and her US-based brother — at the government’s expense — to Pakistan to ‘consult’ with the government over the next course of action. The government’s expense, of course, means that while there is no money for higher education, there is a lot of money to bail out non-Pakistani Muslim daughters running amuck.

Steps to bring this daughter of Islam and Pakistan back home, wherever home might be, might be necessary according to some. Perhaps, Aafia’s case should be pursued but one fails to understand why there is discrimination amongst the siblings. While the parliamentarians walk behind the opposition leader for Aafia, why do we not hear calls of “we will not rest easily” until the missing persons that have been ‘missing’ for years within Pakistan are located? Why is there not an uproar for the woes of the daughters of Pakistan who were stoned in Swat and, presently, in Orakzai Agency? Or, perhaps, the two daughters of the ummah who were buried alive in Balochistan after dogs were set after them. Daughters like Mukhtaran Mai, of course, are not comparable with American daughters of Pakistani origin like Aafia because, perhaps, the former are illegitimate.

At the time of writing these words, there are 7,000 women and children residing in 75 jails in the country. Out of these, 1,500 are in dismal conditions. According to the National Commission for the Status of Women (NCSW), 88 percent of the female prisoners are in jail only because of the ambiguities in the Zina Ordinance. However, parliamentarians do not stage walks for them, no commissions are sent anywhere in the country, no one meets their families and their ordeal is not a slap on anyone’s face simply because they are illegitimate. Legitimacy, it seems, only comes from Aafia.

A word of caution on the subject of daughters, legitimate or otherwise. Those who declare that Aafia is the daughter of Islam, Pakistan and the Muslim ummah, should remember, then, who their sons-in-law are. Aafia’s husband Mr Ammar al Baluchi is the nephew of Mr Khalid Sheikh Mohammed of 9/11 fame. We all have unsavoury uncles who get mixed up in the wrong company but investigation has revealed some roads leading to the nephew too. A detainee at the Guantanamo Bay, the son-in-law of the Muslim ummah was allegedly involved in financing the 9/11 attacks. If the trial of Aafia is “a slap on the whole Islamic world”, according to Altaf Hussain, then the trial of her husband should qualify as a slap on one side of the face at the very least.

Speaking of trials, the very characters present within the ‘Aafia mafia’, as columnist Fasi Zaka puts it, are also the ones who are sworn supporters of judicial supremacy. Food for thought for them as they endure the long wait till October 13: do they believe in the supremacy of the judiciary only in Pakistan? Dr Aafia was tried. Evidence was presented against her and the judiciary has spoken. How has this judicial decision become a fight between Islam and the West?

When will we learn? This is not a fight between Islam and the West just as militant groups do not represent anything more than the Wahabiist funded, inspired, encouraged, and promoted brand of bigotry. Just this year, a total of 9,009 civilians died in terrorist attacks, along with a total of 3,215 security personnel and 19,019 terrorists. This brings us to a total of 31,243 Pakistanis who died just this year because of the twisted worldviews that they want to impose on all of us. This is opposed to a total of 189 deaths in total in 2003, 863 in 2004, 648 in 2005, 1,471 in 2006, 3,590 in 2007, 6,715 in 2008 and 11,704 in 2009. In other words, a total of 56,431 have died in the last seven years. Yet, we declare that this war is not ours. If it was not previously, perhaps it is high time that it should be now. For the person sitting in San Francisco or Paris, militant groups and their apologists pose a terrorist threat. For us in Pakistan, it is terrorist reality.

Source: Daily Times

About the author

Junaid Qaiser


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  • The article clearly demonstrates the degree of damage this militancy has brought us. I agree with the author that after losing more than 50 thousand lives, the debate of whether it is our war or not should come to an end.

  • The author has truly said that we must own this war, because the casualties are real and in great numbers. Only then we will be able to put an end to the violence spread by these terrorists.

  • I must agree with the writer. The war is not between Islam and the west. The war is between civilized society and the ignorant barbarians who would mutilate a young lady and spread their terrorism throughout Pakistan. The Islamic world MUST state over and over again that these terrorists have no relationship to Islam.

  • @richard
    it wont happen.

    muslim will watch while muslim kill both muslim and non muslim.

    added bonus: if they kill jews, then muslim will celebrate on the street, sharing mithayi (sweets).

  • This is true. I would agree with the author. Let us for once stay away for hypocrisy and think equal about all the women and protect the women under the Taliban within borders especially.

  • Can we establish something first – Dr Aafia Siddiqui was married once, and once only. That union ended uphappily in divorce.
    There is absolutely no evidence she re-married other than a mischievious statement issued by US intelligence and let’s look at their source … Khaled Sheikh Mohammed who was waterboarded 183 times. Please, can we seriously accept anything from this man’s mouth after being tortured in such a barbaric and primitive way? The evidence won’t even stand up in a US court which is why they keep delaying a trial. Evidence gained under torture is unreliable. Fact.
    Gulmina, I wonder what you would say, sign and confess to under such circumstances.
    Dr Aafia Siddiqui is a Pakistani citizen – not a US citizen – hence the description of her being the daughter of the Nation. It is what she has come to represent, not who she is, which is important.
    She represents the tip of a very nasty iceberg in which more than 10,000 are Disappeared. She represents everything which is wrong with the now discredited War on Terror.
    There is much, much more to come out in this case and it will come out. The one constant in all of this is the truth and that has never changed. The narrative from the US and Pakistani politicians and ambassadors changes constantly but the truth of Aafia’s abduction and that of her children is there like a blot on the landscape of US justice.
    There is no hypocrisy in supporting Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s case – the sad thing is that some of us don’t have the time to widen our campaigns and activities beyond Aafia’s case. But be sure of one thing, when we get justice for Dr Aafia Siddiqui the scandal of the Disappeared will start to be resolved.
    It took just one woman – Rosa Parks – to trigger the Black American Civil Rights Movement and deliver justice for all Black Americans. Maybe, just maybe Dr Aafia’s repatriation will trigger something similar in Pakistan. Now wouldn’t that be something?
    Sitting back and sneering at individuals and the efforts of their supporters achieves nothing.
    Yvonne Ridley
    London, UK