LAHORE: While a court decision on her appeal against her latest detention is pending, troubles of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) activist and fashion designer Khadija Shah seem to compound further as the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) opened a probe into money laundering allegations against her.

“The FIA has launched a money laundering probe against Khadija Shah after receiving a complaint that she had some suspicious bank transactions,” an official source told Dawn on Friday. He said the FIA had sought details from banks regarding her accounts and foreign transactions.

“Ms Shah will be quizzed in jail regarding these transactions,” he said.

Last month Khadija Shah, a granddaughter of former army chief Gen Asif Nawaz Janjua and daughter of ex-bureaucrat Salman Shah, was detained for 30 days under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance in Kot Lakhpat Jail after court granted her bail in a terrorism case. This was her fifth detention since the May 9 attacks.

Fresh allegations surface as court decision on her detention is awaited

Subsequently, she moved the Lahore High Court against the 30-day preventive detention order issued by deputy commissioner. The LHC during the Thursday hearing ordered the caretaker government of Punjab to immediately arrange her meeting with her family and adjourned further proceedings till Dec 4.

The PTI activist has been in jail for over six months in connection with attacks on Lahore Corps Commander House, Askari Plaza, torching police vehicles and inciting public on social media. She got bail in all these four cases but could not walk free after the emergence of a fresh detention order by the government.

The PTI calls it a ‘new normal’ for its leaders and workers who are subjected to the worst political victimisation.

PTI President Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and dozens of other leaders and activists are among those who of late secured bail in a number of cases against them, but they were re-arrested under new charges that popped up suddenly.

Earlier, Ms Shah had written an open letter from the jail seeking “empathy and humanity” for the party’s 19 women prisoners, including herself. She said she had been incarcerated for six months for ‘peacefully participating’ in the May 9 protest. “Each PTI woman prisoner at Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore, has borne unimaginable punishment,” she added.

Writing about the plight of 18 ‘innocent women’ imprisoned alongside her, Ms Shah said: “These women prisoners have no access to the world and are unable to share their plight; their families desperately struggling to balance the demands of life without them. The women incarcerated with me have suffered unbearable circumstances, and they are waiting for the world to take notice and speak for them.”

Ms Shah said the stories of separation, pain and suffering of May 9 prisoners were endless though they all are Pakistanis.

According to her party, at least 10,000 leaders and workers have been in jail in connection with the May 9 violent protests.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2023

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