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Police Arrest Khadija Shah

Fashion designer denies accusations of inciting crowds to attack the Lahore Corps Commanders’ house during May 9 riots

by Staff Report

Photo courtesy Elan

Fashion designer Khadija Shah, wanted in connection with the May 9 assault on the Lahore Corps Commanders’ house, was arrested on Tuesday night and presented before an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) today (Wednesday).

Shah, the daughter of former finance minister Salman Shah, has been a vociferous supporter of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), with police accusing her of inciting crowds after the arrest of Imran Khan on May 9. Citing video evidence of her involvement in the riots, police nominated her in a First Information Report registered under terrorism and other charges.

Earlier, a manhunt had been launched for the fashion designer, who had gone into hiding as an ongoing crackdown against people involved in the May 9 riots commenced last week. Reportedly, Shah spent the past few days evading arrest, rushing from one hideout to another as police raided various locations in a bid to locate her.

Failing to find her, police had initially taken her husband, father and brother. While her father and brother were released within hours, her husband—Jehanzeb Amin—was kept in custody pending her surrendering to police. In a voice note distributed on social media on Sunday, Shah claimed she was surrendering to authorities that day because of the treatment meted out to her family, though she continued to evade arrest for several days subsequently.

In the 16-minute voice note, Shah admits to being a PTI supporter, but maintains that she did not break any laws or incite the crowds, adding she was only involved in a “peaceful protest” outside the Lahore Corps Commanders’ house. While acknowledging that she had posted some “inappropriate” tweets about the military leadership, she said she had since deleted them, and accused the incumbent government of “creating divisions” between the military and the public through its actions. She also noted that she was a dual citizen—reportedly of the U.S.—and was seeking the aid of the embassy in her legal struggles.

Amidst mounting criticism over women and privileged individuals escaping punishment for the May 9 riots, interim Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi last week had announced that everyone involved in the attacks on military installations, including women, would be arrested at all costs.

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