FOREIGN Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has told CNN that the sentence in the Aafia Siddiqui case was 'harsh' and 'unfortunate', thereby reflecting the Pakistan government's view that the case was merely a storm to be weathered; and his careful skirting of the word 'unjust' makes both a presumption of her guilt, as well as an assumption that the American court which convicted her cannot be wrong. His saying that she did not get the benefit of doubt implies that the official belief is that the charge was laid bona fide. The case, in which Dr Aafia Siddiqui, mother of three and an MIT-trained neuroscientist, was convicted of attempting to murder an FBI operative with weaponry seized from that operative, showed that the real case against her was not in the charge which had been levelled, but was to do with her views, which did not fit in with what the American mainstream believed at the time. After the conviction, in itself unjust, the sentencing was inevitable, though the harshness was another indication that the charge itself was known to be bogus even by those who had brought it. Just as the institution of the case had led to protests in Pakistan, as well as the conviction, the sentencing also showed ordinary Pakistanis' dissatisfaction with the outcome of the case. These people were not restrained by Mr Qureshi's concern with the due process shown, and showed Pakistanis' lack of confidence in the vaunted American justice system. They do not seem to share Mr Qureshi's confidence in the appeals process. The government has hardly covered itself with glory in this case, but public pressure, and the very strong sympathy evoked by the plight of a woman who had been wrongfully held, and even more wrongfully deprived of her children, has caused the government to take some action in her case, if only to make the inevitable demonstrations less virulent. At the same time, the USA should learn that its methods of violence and mistreatment, which do not even spare women, win it no friends.