Pakistan's prime minister called a female scientist convicted of trying to kill U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan "the daughter of the nation" on Friday and vowed to campaign for her release from an American jail.
Yousuf Raza Gilani's comments appeared to be an attempt to manage public anger over the 86-year sentence handed down to Aafia Siddiqui. The plight of the American-trained Pakistani scientist and mother has struck a chord among Islamist groups and ordinary Pakistanis, many of whom are convinced of her innocence.
She was sentenced Thursday in a New York court. The punishment prompted demonstrations in at least two cities, with much of the anger directed at the already unpopular Pakistani government for failing to somehow intervene in her case.