The court sends Khadija Shah under Balochistan police custody

After receiving a transit remand from an anti-terrorism court (ATC) for a case against her in Quetta, the Balochistan police were given custody of fashion designer Khadija Shah on Monday, and the LHC summoned her. 

LHC’s Justice Ali Baqar Najafi also summoned Punjab’s inspector general. During the proceedings, the petitioner’s counsel, Barrister Sameer Khosa, informed the court of how they were drawing attention to the conduct under which Khadija was being treated. 

On Monday, Balochistan police submitted an application before the ATC seeking transit remand for the fashion designer. The police contended in its application that ATC Quetta had issued her arrest warrants and that the police had yet to investigate the case and produce her before the relevant court, so the transit remand of Khadija is required.

ATC Judge Abher Gul Khan admitted the application and granted a two-day transit remand to the police with directions to produce her before the relevant court.

Earlier, LHC’s proceeding

Justice Ali Baqar Najafi had reserved a decision on a plea challenging the ‘detention order’ of Khadija after hearing the detailed arguments of her counsel and the law officer, who on different occasions could not satisfy the court when asked how her detention was justified.

Advocate Sameer Khosa had raised several questions over the illegality committed in implicating Khadija in FIRs, her arrest, and her detention through an order issued under 3-MPO for a period of 30 days to maintain the law and order situation in the city.

On the other hand, the government seems to be lingering on this matter under one after another pretext. On different occasions, Justice Najafi seemed to be coming down hard over delaying tactics by the government, either in deciding the review application of the petitioner against the detention order or even the delay in holding the cabinet’s meeting or its decision upon this matter.

Khadija’s husband, Jehanzeb Amin, filed a plea challenging his wife’s detention order before Justice Najafi. In it, he asked the court to prevent the relevant authorities from taking Khadija out of Lahore’s jurisdiction or even moving her inside the LHC’s border.

It is worth mentioning that LHC’s division bench had granted Khadija post-arrest bail in two FIRs related to arson at Askari Tower and attacking Jinnah House registered against her in response to the May 9 riots.

As the LHC granted her bail, the police arrested her in a third FIR under the allegation of abetting arson at Rahat Bakery.

She then filed a plea in LHC seeking contempt proceedings against police high-ups who, according to her, deceived the court by submitting a report that only two FIRs had been registered against her. She contended in her plea that the court had sought a report from CCPO Lahore, who admitted only two FIRs against her, but when she was granted bail in these two FIRs, the third FIR emerged.

This plea is still pending before Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, who seemed unsatisfactory with the CCPO’s report.

Further, on the court’s direction, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Punjab, Dr. Usman Anwar, appeared before the court, but he could not satisfy the court upon its repeated queries of why Khadija was arrested in the third case when she was already granted bail.

Moreover, the judge inquired as to why the police preferred to wait for the court’s final order on her bail and why she was not interrogated during custody. Who will guarantee that she will not be arrested if she is granted bail in the third FIR? the justice added.