Drug charges: Court denies bail to British woman

LHC orders jail officials to provide medical care to the pregnant prisoner.

Our Correspondent August 18, 2012


A court on Thursday denied post-arrest bail to a British woman of Pakistani origin interred in jail on drug smuggling charges.    

A two-member bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC), comprising Justice Khawaja Imtiaz Ahmed and Justice Ibadur Rehman Lodhi, announced the decision after working hours on Thursday, dismissing the post-arrest bail plea of the woman.

The LHC directed Adiala Jail authorities to provide medical treatment to Khadija Shah, who is seven months’ pregnant.

The woman was arrested at Benazir Bhutto International Airport for carrying 63 kilograms heroin in secret pockets of three bags as she was about to board a flight
along with her two daughters of aged six and four for Britain.

This newspaper carried on Friday a story based on information given by court staff stating that the case of the bail plea had been adjourned without hearing.

On Friday morning, Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) officials told The Express Tribune the bail plea was taken up by the bench on the request of Shah’s counsel late on Thursday. She had filed the plea for bail through her counsel Barrister Sara Bilal on medical and humanitarian grounds, complaining of the absence of health care in the prison.

In her bail plea, the woman said she had to travel to the court on a pot-holed road which could hurt her during pregnancy.

She also maintained that her two children were confined in prison before their maternal grandmother obtained their custody.

British High Commission wrote a letter to the LHC, highlighting the need for medical care for the woman who is seven months pregnant. The high commission requested the court to keep in view international conventions on protection of women rights to which Pakistan is a signatory.

On July 3, the trial court rejected her bail plea. The court has ruled out any mala fide intention on the part of ANF as claimed by the petitioner. The woman claimed that she had been implicated in the case.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2012.

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