LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Wednesday granted post-arrest bail to fashion designer Khadija Shah in the fourth, and so far last, case related to the May 9 riots, registered against her.

Sarwar Road police re-arrested Ms Shah in the case of torching police vehicles in Cantonment area after she had been granted bail in two previous cases pertaining to attacks on the Jinnah House and Askari Tower.

Later, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) also arrested her in a cyber crime case of posting social media messages allegedly to incite people against the army during the May 9 violence.

However, a sessions court allowed her bail in the FIA case.

During the final arguments before the ATC, Ms Shah’s counsel Sameer Khosa argued that the police re-arrested the petitioner in the new case with mala fide intention, only to keep her behind the bars.

He said the police had no evidence against the petitioner and implicated her merely on the basis of statements by other arrested suspects. He said the petitioner was a mother of minor children and had been imprisoned for the last six months.

The counsel asked the court to release the petitioner on bail.

A prosecutor presented the case record and told the court that the suspect had been identified by the prosecution witnesses during her identification parade in jail.

He urged the court to dismiss the bail petition.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, Judge Arshad Javed allowed the bail petition of Ms Shah subject to furnishing ofRs100,000 surety bonds.

Separately, Justice Ali Baqar Najafi of the Lahore High Court expressed displeasure at the investigating officer (IO) of Sarwar Road police for not presenting record of the case in a contempt petition by Khadija Shah.

Ms Shah had sought contempt proceedings against the Punjab inspector general of police (IGP) and the Lahore capital city police officer (CCPO) for arresting her in a new case after bail was granted to her in two cases related to the May 9 riots.

A government law officer told the court that the IO was busy before the ATC.

Ms Shah’s counsel pointed out that the IO failed to present the case record before the ATC at the four hearings with a claim that the record was lying with the LHC.

Justice Najafi directed a deputy prosecutor general to look into the matter and submit a report on Nov 24.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2023

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