The Texas synagogue hostage crisis in the United States once counter-established Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism, as the man who took four people hostage was linked to Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui, who serving a sentence in an American prison. The attention given to Aafia Siddiqui, who was convicted of attempting to kill US officers in Afghanistan, shows how deeply rooted terrorism runs in Pakistan, according to an analysis by the American Enterprise Institute.
“In Pakistan, Siddiqui has become a cause celebre. Pakistan’s president, prime minister and foreign minister have all raised her case with their American counterparts, and the Pakistani senate has called on the United States to release her,” the AEI analysis said.
The institute said that while news of Aafia Siddiqui’s arrest passed without notice in the United States, her sentencing has led to widespread anti-American protests in Pakistan. The protesters demanded that the Pakistani authorities suspend the delivery of supplies for the war effort in Afghanistan. Aafia’s incarceration has been front page news in Pakistan for months, AEI said.
Many people on Pakistani streets will now ‘celebrate’ Muhammad Siddiqui
Now, with his brother Muhammad Siddiqui’s attack on the Beth Israel Synagogue on Saturday, analysts have said the importance of his case will increase. The AEI said that while groups like al-Qaeda or the Islamic State (IS) are filled with citizens of other countries whose governments have denounced them, Aafia Siddiqui is different because Pakistani officials at all levels of government approve of her and treat her like a “hero”. It should be mentioned that the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yousuf Raza Gilani, called her a “daughter of the nation” and vowed to campaign for her release from prison.
“Inevitably, many on the Pakistani street will now celebrate his brother or, at the very least, excuse his actions,” said AEI’s analysis.
Moreover, the institute said Pakistanis’ membership of Aafia is just the tip of the iceberg. The analyst said the Pakistani government continues to let those responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks go free. Moreover, Pakistani intelligence services allegedly knowingly provided al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden with a safe haven. “And, while the Biden administration discusses the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan as if it happened in a vacuum, the reality is that the Taliban rampage across Afghanistan this summer was in made a Pakistani invasion,” AEI said.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Siddiqui, who previously held people hostage at the Texas synagogue, was also shot and killed in a police operation. All of the hostages at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville were freed after hours of confrontation between the gunman and local, state and federal law enforcement. Muhammad was motivated by a desire to free his sister Aafia Siddiqui.