Monday, May 29, 2023
An anti-terrorism court in Lahore on Monday rejected a plea seeking a medical examination of Pakistan Tehree-e-Insaf's (PTI) supporter and fashion designer Khadija Shah, the prime suspect in the attack on the Lahore Corps Commander's House — originally known as Jinnah House.
Announcing the verdict which was reserved earlier today, ATC judge Abhar Gul also denied permission for Shah's family to meet her.
Earlier today, the fashion designer’s counsel pleaded with the court to seek her medical report from the jail authorities and for the family to be allowed to meet her in jail. Her lawyer apprised the court that Shah’s family has not been allowed to meet her since she was arrested.
A day earlier, PTI Chairman Imran Khan accused that the government was “ill-treating” his party workers, especially women, in custody.
He made the remarks while reacting to a late-night presser of Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Saturday, wherein he claimed intelligence agencies had intercepted a conversation indicating that the PTI was planning two separate actions, which he termed "dramas".
Khan had said Sanaullah is "so obviously trying to cover up and preempt the horror stories about to break in the media."
It is pertinent to mention here that the Punjab police on May 23 confirmed that the law enforcers have taken Shah into custody. On the next day, she was handed over to the police for an “identification parade” till May 30.
Khadija Shah is the daughter of Dr Salman Shah who was a member of former president Pervez Musharraf’s finance team and had also served as an adviser in the Punjab government during the Usman Buzdar government.
Shah is accused of leading the attack on Lahore Corps Commander’s House during the May 9 mayhem.
Claiming to be a supporter of the PTI, she had been in hiding ever since the authorities launched the crackdown to arrest the accused involved in ransacking public and military installations following Khan’s arrest in a graft case.
Shah is also the granddaughter of a former army chief.
In the over 16 minutes-long audio message, Shah admitted that she was a PTI supporter and was part of the protest outside the Lahore Corps Commander’s House but denied committing any wrongdoing, including inciting people to violence.
“I am going to surrender to the police. I have taken this decision because the last five days remained very tough for me,” she said.
“They (authorities) barged into my house at midnight and abducted my husband and father. They roughed up my husband in front of our children... my domestic workers were also subjected to torture,” she claimed.
The PTI supporter went on to say she did not violate any law or the country's Constitution, adding that she had participated in many PTI protests during the past year.
She also disclosed that she was a dual citizen and trying to get help from the embassy but did not elaborate further in this regard.
“The Punjab government is trying to build a case against me saying I am the prime suspect and mastermind of the May 9 vandalism,” she said, accusing the provincial authorities of victimisation.
“I am neither an office bearer nor a worker of the PTI. I protested in an individual capacity as a supporter of Imran Khan,” she clarified.