LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday sought replies from the caretaker government of Punjab and the police on petitions questioning the alleged maltreatment of PTI women workers, including fashion designer Khadija Shah, and seeking their release in the May 9 violence.
In a joint petition, Ms Shah’s father, former finance minister Salman Shah, and husband Jahanzeb Amin, contended through a counsel that the police arrested the fashion designer for her alleged involvement in the attack on the Jinnah House.
The counsel argued that police obtained custody of Ms Shah from the trial court till May 30 and shifted her to jail for her identification parade. However, he said, the police did not produce her before the trial court despite the expiry of the judicial remand.
He said Ms Shah had been kept in the Kot Lakhpat jail and neither her family nor lawyers had been able to visit her. He said various reports about her health and conditions in which she was being kept surfaced but the family had not been able to meet her to confirm any of this.
He asked the court to discharge the women worker in the case and order her release.
Justice Syed Shahbaz Ali Rizvi sought replies from the caretaker government of Punjab and the police.
The family of Ms Shah also issued a statement expressing concern over her well-being in judicial custody. It says Ms Shah has never had any official affiliation with a political party and has always been committed to rule of law and prosperity of Pakistani society.
The statement says any fair, impartial investigation and judicial process around the May 9 events will establish Khadija’s innocence.
On another petition of PTI Senator Zarqa Suharwardi, Justice Rizvi directed a provincial law officer to submit a report showing how many women suspects were in police custody and in jail on judicial remand.
The law officer questioned the maintainability of the petition saying the women suspects were lawfully arrested and the police had obtained their remand from the trial courts. He also rejected the reports of maltreatment of the women in the jail.
The petitioner’s counsel argued that the PTI women workers had been arrested unlawfully and sent to jail for their identification parade. He said the police delayed the process of the identification parade only to keep the workers in jail illegally.
The judge sought replies from the respondents by June 6.
Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2023