The second bail plea of a pregnant British citizen could not be taken up by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday due to time constraints. The hearing was postponed after Eid and is expected to be rescheduled to the start of September.
Khadija Shah, 39, is due for delivery around the mid of September and is seeking bail so that she can give birth in a hospital. Her earlier bail plea was denied.
Shah’s plea is accompanied by a letter from the British High Commission underscoring the need to provide better medical care to the seven months pregnant Shah. The commission has urged the court to keep in view the international conventions for protection of women rights that Pakistan has signed.
Shah was arrested along with her two children from the Benazir Bhutto International Airport on May 6 this year after the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) seized 63kg of heroin from her luggage. She was scheduled to board a flight to the UK along with her two children.
Shah, who denies the smuggling charges, has sought bail on medical and humanitarian grounds underlining the absence of medical facilities she requires during pregnancy at the Adiala Jail.
Shah maintained in her bail plea that she has to travel from the jail to the court on a dilapidated road which could hurt her during pregnancy.
The Pakistan-born British national had earlier filed a bail plea on July 3, which was rejected by the trial court. The judges had maintained that she could not be given bail as she was involved in a “heinous” crime and would have earned bad name for Pakistan if she had succeeded in taking away the drugs.
Reprieve, a UK-based organisation, has said on its website that Shah “is not receiving adequate antenatal care in the prison, which this week saw an outbreak of tuberculosis as a result of poor hygiene conditions.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2012.