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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has lodged a formal complaint with the relevant US authorities and sought a thorough investigation into the incident of an assault on Dr Aafia Siddiqui, by a fellow inmate at Federal Medical Center (FMC), Carswell, a United States federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas.

"We learnt of an assault on Dr Aafia Siddiqui by a fellow inmate at FMC Carswell on 30 July 2021," Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said in response to media queries about the incident, adding that Siddiqui had received some minor injuries "but was doing fine."

He said that Pakistan's Embassy in Washington DC as well as the Consulate General in Houston immediately took up the matter with the concerned US authorities. He said that Pakistan Consul General in Houston visited Dr Siddiqui immediately to ascertain her well-being.

"We lodged a formal complaint with the relevant US authorities to thoroughly investigate the matter and ensure the safety and well-being of Dr Siddiqui," the spokesperson added.

Chaudhri said that both the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington DC and the Consulate General of Pakistan in Houston continue making every effort to ensure that Dr Siddiqui is properly looked after during her incarceration at FMC Carswell.

In a press release on August 19, 2021, CAGE, a London-based advocacy organisation, stated that on July 30, 2021, it received disturbing reports from her lawyers that Aafia Siddiqui was attacked in her cell by an inmate who had been harassing her for some time, and who smashed a coffee mug filled with scalding hot liquid into her face.

"Shocked by the violent assault and in excruciating pain, Dr Siddiqui curled into a fetal position to protect herself. She was unable to get up after the assault and had to be taken out of the cell in a wheelchair," it added.

Dr Siddiqui has been placed in administrative solitary confinement for an unspecified period of time.

Dr Siddiqui - also known as the "grey lady of Bagram" was sentenced to 86-year imprisonment for attempted murder after a controversial trial in 2010, during which she accused witnesses of lying.

Her case has been plagued by inconsistencies, contradictory allegations and evidence gathered from torture, to the point that she has been called "the most wronged woman in the world".

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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