RAWALPINDI: In what would be more trouble for Ayyan Ali, the special court of customs, excise and taxation declared the beleaguered model a proclaimed offender on Saturday in a currency smuggling case and attached her transferable and non-transferable assets.
Her lawyer sought more time for his client to surrender before the court but Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta turned down the request.
The court also gave orders to confiscate the surety bonds of her two guarantors Shaukat and Nawaz. The bonds are worth Rs550,000 and had been deposited as post-arrest bail when Ayyan was released from jail in July 2015.
The case was adjourned till March 18.
Ayyan was arrested on March 14, 2015 for allegedly attempting to smuggle $506,800 in cash to the United Arab Emirates by the Airports Security Force personnel at Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad.
The airport was functional till 2018 and was later replaced by a new airport, Islamabad International Airport.
Her arrest created quite a bit of media frenzy as she was brought to the court every other day for hearings, spending four months in Adiala jail.
Her name was linked to high-profile politicians and it was alleged that she was a conduit for their money laundering operations.
The government also put her name on the Exit Control List but a Supreme Court bench headed by former chief justice Saqib Nisar allowed her to go abroad.
Her name was also entangled over the alleged murder of a customs official as an arrest warrant was issued in her name by a magistrate in Rawalpindi. But the apex court on July 22, 2016 suspended the warrant.
Last October, the special customs court in Rawalpindi issued non-bailable arrest warrants against Ayyan as she had been absconding from trial in this currency smuggling case having left the country and not attending the court’s proceedings.
During her trial, she had once addressed the court directly and said she was facing discriminatory treatment, pointing out that other accused persons were caught carrying double or triple the amount in their bags but they had been released on bail after a couple of weeks while her request for bail at the time was being denied.
She also alleged that neither the Federal Board of Revenue nor any other institution had sought details of tax and property from other accused persons in similar cases but in her case details of her income and assets were under scrutiny.
Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2019