Swiss prez calls up Gilani over abducted couple



    The Swiss president has rung up Pakistani Premier Yousaf Raza Gilani to press for a quick action on the swiss couple who were abducted in the restive province of Balochistan. The couple identified as Olivier David Och, 31, and Daniela Widmer, 29. were abducted by gunmen while travelling in the semi-autonomous tribal area, which falls under Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA).

    Gilani on his part has assured Swiss President  Micheline Calmy-Rey that Pakistan is doing all it can to ensure the safe return of the abducted couple.

    The couple were sized from the Loralai district, Reuters reported. The Pakistan Taliban has claimed responsibility for the abduction. Two videos which Reuters was given by the Taliban show the couple pleading for their lives and appealing for the release of Aafia Siddique, a Pakistani neuroscientist held in captivity in the US, and for Taliban fighters.

    Earlier too the Taliban had demanded the release of Aafia Siddique, with deputy Pakistani Taliban leader Wali-ur-Rehman demanding her release on July 29.

    The case of Aafia Siddique has been a highly controversial one, with none of the terrorism charges that had filled the media being brought against her in court.  She was instead sentenced for shooting at FBI agents following her arrest in Afghanistan, even though the evidence was incredibly faulty and the witness accounts of the incident were contradictory, as the New York Times  reported.

    Her detention has led to widespread protests in Pakistan where is has come to symbolize US torture and detention of innocent victims. The Pakistani Parliament had unanimously called upon the US to release and repatriate her.