LAHORE: The Lahore High Court’s registrar office on Wednesday refused to entertain a petition of fashion model Ayyan Ali seeking cancellation of her arrest warrants in a currency smuggling case.
The office put an objection on the petition that since she was out of the country, her petition could not be fixed for hearing.
The model’s counsel Aftab Ahmad Bajwa announced that he would file the petition afresh after removing the office objection.
On March 9, special customs court judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta issued perpetual arrest warrants for the model girl after declaring her a proclaimed offender over prolonged absence from the trial proceedings of the smuggling case. The trial court also ordered confiscation of her assets.
In her petition, the model pleads that she wants to appear before the trial court to prove her innocence in the case.
Her lawyer states that Article 10-A of the Constitution ensures right of a transparent trial to every citizen of the land, therefore, the high court has been requested to suspend the arrest warrants. He says the non-appearance of the petitioner before the trial court was neither deliberate nor intentional but due to her illness.
The counsel asks the court to accept the petition and set aside the impugned orders of the trial court and the petitioner be allowed to submit fresh surety bonds and appear before the trial court to face the trial.
In March 2015, the customs officials had arrested Ayyan Ali from the VIP lounge of the Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad on money laundering charges before she could board a flight to Dubai. Under Pakistan laws, a citizen is barred from carrying over $10,000 on a flight.
However, the authorities had found $506,800 tucked in her luggage. She was released on bail in July 2016 and her lawyer claimed she had no intention to take money outside Pakistan.
Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2019