New Delhi: A gunman identified as Muhammad Siddiqui entered a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, and held the rabbi and three others hostage in an hours-long standoff. His demand was reportedly the release of his sister, imprisoned Pakistani terrorist Aafia Siddiqui.
The standoff ended late Saturday night and the gunman was dead, the Colleyville Police announced Sunday.
Meanwhile, the focus on Aafia Siddiqui shows just how deep-rooted terrorism in Pakistan has become, Michael Rubin wrote in a website, 1945.
In July 2008, US forces in Afghanistan arrested Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani national who was a US-educated neuroscientist, on charges of terrorism. She was wounded during her interrogation after she allegedly grabbed an unattended rifle, and was subsequently extradited to New York, where she was sentenced to 86 years in prison, Rubin wrote.
“In Pakistan, Siddiqui became a cause celebre. Pakistan’s president, prime minister, and foreign minister all brought up her case with their American counterparts, and the Pakistani senate called on the United States to release her.”
While the news of Siddiqui’s arrest passed with little notice in the US, her conviction led to widespread anti-American demonstrations, and to demands that Pakistani authorities suspend the delivery of supplies for the war effort in Afghanistan.
Her incarceration occupied headlines in Pakistan for months, Rubin added.
“With her brother’s attack on the Beth Israel synagogue, the prominence of her case will increase. While terror groups like Al Qaeda or the Islamic State are filled with citizens of other countries whose governments denounce them, Aafia Siddiqui is different: Pakistani officials at all levels of government endorse her and treat her like a hero. Inevitably, many on the Pakistani street will now celebrate her brother or, at the very least, excuse his actions.
“Inevitably, the White House will condemn today’s actions. They should. But, statements are no longer enough. Pakistan’s embrace of Aafia is just the tip of the iceberg. The Pakistani government continues to let those responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks to roam free. Pakistan’s intelligence service knowingly provided Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden with safe-haven. And, while the Biden administration discusses the Taliban take over of Afghanistan as if it occurred in a vacuum, the reality is that the Taliban’s rampage through Afghanistan this summer was effectively a Pakistani invasion,” Rubin added.
He said the Colleyville hostage situation “should also be a wake-up call: To allow diplomatic wishful thinking about Pakistan’s orientation trump reality has a very high cost, one increasingly measured in American lives. President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken: Aafia and Muhammad Siddiqui are not outliers but honoured products of Pakistan’s state policies”.