Fashion designer and PTI supporter Khadija Shah challenged her 30-day detention in the Lahore High Court on Saturday, denouncing it as “unlawful and unconstitutional.”
Shah was re-arrested on Friday — for the fifth time since the May 9 attacks — on orders of the Lahore deputy commissioner, just a day after a Lahore anti-terrorism court approved post-arrest bail. Her latest arrest, under section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, followed the DC’s orders for her to be detained for 30 days. She has been unable to secure release thus far.
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.”
Explaining the grounds behind her fresh detention, the Lahore DC had noted that the involvement of 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”.
Shah’s legal situation stems from her arrest during the nationwide unrest on May 9 and 10, 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.
In her petition, Shah has named the provincial government, Lahore DC, provincial police chief, superintendent Kot Lakhpat Jail, among others as respondents.
The plea termed the charges filed by law enforcers as “false and baseless”.
“It has been falsely alleged that the detenu was inviting and instigating others to create serious public disturbances and engage in similarly criminal behaviour.”
The plea added: “The various courts of law have already examined the material relied upon [Lahore DC] and have reached the conclusion that the material requires further inquiry and does not justify further continued incarceration of the petitioner.”
It insisted that the order was not based on any “cogent evidence and is therefore entirely illegal and unlawful and is liable to be set aside”.
The petition’s hearing status remains pending, and clarity is expected once a cause list is published in the court on Monday.