Pak under terror control again after Texas hostage drama to free jailed scientist | India News

WASHINGTON: Pakistan is again in the spotlight for its terrorism after an FBI team on Saturday shot and killed a man who had taken hostage at a Texas synagogue to demand the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani-American neuroscientist serving an 86-year sentence on terrorism-related charges. Islamabad has repeatedly called on Washington to release Siddiqui, a cause celebre in Pakistan and its extremist circles.
The latest episode in the US-Pakistan terror spat began Saturday morning when a man who identified himself as Mohammed Siddiqui took four Jewish hostages from a synagogue in Colleyville in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, demanding authorities release his “sister” Aafia Siddiqui, who is incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center 22 miles away in Carswell.
During a 12-hour confrontation, a lawyer for Aafia Siddiqui’s family told the media that the attacker was not Siddiqui’s brother and “she does not want any violence perpetrated against a human being, especially in his name”. be armed with bombs.
“This obviously has nothing to do with Dr. Siddiqui or his family. Whoever the assailant is, we want them to know that their actions are condemned by Dr. Siddiqui and his family. We implore you to immediately release the hostages and surrender you,” attorney Marwa Elbially told CNN by phone.
Late that evening, an FBI hostage rescue team from Bureau headquarters in Quantico stormed the synagogue after two of the hostages broke free and fled. Grainy video footage on social media showed two hostages darting from the door of the synagogue, pursued by the assailant, who quickly retreats inside after spotting armed SWAT teams outside. Local media said an explosion and gunshots were heard, and shortly after authorities announced that all hostages were free and safe and the hostage taker was dead.
At a press conference at the end of the confrontation, the local police chief and FBI special agent in charge declined to share more information about the identity of the hostage taker, but said that a “global” investigation was underway.
Islamabad has long called for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, including her exposure to extremist circles while pursuing a master’s and doctorate in Boston, her wanderings to and from Pakistan, her ties to al-Qaeda, her capture and subsequent sentencing, constitute one of the most obscure chapters of the American war against terrorism. Nicknamed “Lady Al Qaeda” by sections of the media for her ties to the group, she is considered a “daughter of the nation” by sections of the Pakistani establishment who have campaigned for her release from prison.
Current Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan reportedly delegated his parliamentary affairs adviser Babar Awan to oversee efforts to secure Siddiqui’s release, an effort that involved asking US President Joe Biden after meeting with family members of the convict . While the effort has been met with stony silence from Washington, the Pakistani establishment has in the past floated the idea of ​​a prisoner swap, including at one point offering to swap the CIA contractor Raymond Davis against Aafia Siddiqui, a proposal that the Obama administration rejected.
US-Pakistan relations have deteriorated precipitously in the decade since current President Joe Biden, after his predecessors Donald Trump and Barack Obama largely ignored Islamabad, a task made easier following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. . A piqued Islamabad, who has complained that Biden hasn’t even bothered to phone Imran Khan since taking office, recently downgraded ties with Washington, identifying the United States in a “rest of the world” category. in a national security document discussing ties to other countries.
Although the United States has a thriving and respected Pakistani-American community of nearly half a million people, suspicion of Pakistanis runs deep in the American security establishment due to radicalization. from the country. Several major terrorist attacks on US soil – including 9/11, the Times Square bombing and the San Bernardino massacre that killed 14 people – were perpetrated by Pakistani or Pakistani-linked terrorists.