The Lahore deputy commissioner has ordered the detention of fashion designer Khadija Shah for a period of another 30 days under Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) ordinance, citing the need to maintain “law and order in the provincial capital,” it emerged on Friday.
DC Rafia Haider issued the order after an anti-terrorism court (ATC) granted post-arrest bail to Shah on yesterday in the fourth and, thus far, final case linked to the May 9 riots filed against her. The decision to detain Shah was taken on Nov 15.
Shah’s legal situation stems from her arrest during the nationwide unrest on May 9, triggered by the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan. The ensuing protests turned violent and included attacks on military and state installations.
On the same day, Shah shared videos on her social media accounts, showcasing her involvement in the PTI protest outside the Jinnah House, the residence of the Lahore corps commander. Subsequently, numerous protesters were detained, and Shah faced multiple charges for her alleged role in vandalism and attacks on security installations.
Shah had voluntarily turned herself in to the police on May 23 after her name was associated with the May 9 riots, leading to her arrest on the same day. The designer is implicated in four cases connected to the events of May 9. Subsequently, she secured bail in all cases, with the most recent granted in the fourth case on Nov 15.
After Shah was granted bail on Wednesday, a meeting of the “District Intelligence Committee” was held the very same day where the issue was discussed in detail, according to the Lahore DC’s order, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.
The order said the members of committee “endorsed the evidence/material provided by the police department and unanimously recommended that her detention order should be issued to maintain law and order situation in the city”.
According to the order, SP Cantt Division Lahore and district intelligence branch recommended Shah’s detention under 3-MPO for the period of 30 days.
Section 3 of MPO empowers the government to arrest and detain suspected persons. It states: “The government, if satisfied that with a view to preventing any person from acting in any manner prejudicial to public safety or the maintenance of public order, it is necessary to do, may, by an order in writing, direct the arrest and detention in such custody […] and [the] government, if satisfied that for the aforesaid reasons, it is necessary so to do, may extend from time to time the period of such detention, for a period not exceeding six months at a time.”
The DC further added: “I am convinced that the presence of Ms Khadija Shah at any public place will pose grave threat to the public safety and is likely to cause breach of public peace and public order.”
He directed authorities to detain Shah, saying “her custody shall be placed under the superintendent, Central Jail, Kot Lakhpat, Lahore.”
Explaining the grounds behind her fresh detention, the DC noted that the involvement of Khadija Shah in the cases “has been denoted as provocative and violent, duly supported by evidence obtained through geo-fencing and thorough monitoring of social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram”.
She highlighted that Shah was found involved in criminal activities during the investigation of the cases filed against her.
“As a consequence of her alleged actions, a series of acts of vandalism and arson have been carried out by multiple individuals, many of whom have been apprehended.”
She noted that it was crucial “to emphasise that Khadija Shah’s role extends beyond mere acts of vandalism to actively inviting and instigating others to create serious public disturbances and engage in similarly criminal behaviour”.
The DC further observed that activists like here “will give rise to a situation prejudicial to public safety and maintenance of public order, if she will not be checked”.
The official went on to claim that there existed “a genuine concern that she may once again incite the public to partake in destructive and vandalising activities”.