The Lahore High Court (LHC) has granted post-arrest bail to renowned designer and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporter, Khadija Shah, in two high-profile cases relating to the alleged involvement in setting Askari Tower ablaze and attacking Jinnah House on May 9. These incidents occurred in the aftermath of the arrest of former Prime Minister and PTI chief, Imran Khan.
During the court proceedings, Justice Aalia, presiding over the case, first approved Khadija Shah’s bail petition in the Askari Tower case and subsequently in the Jinnah House Attack case. The decision came after comprehensive arguments were presented by both the petitioner’s counsel and the special prosecutor.
Khadija Shah’s counsel argued that the investigations in both cases had been concluded, and there was a lack of substantial evidence to establish her guilt. Therefore, they requested the court to grant post-arrest bail to Khadija Shah in both cases.
In contrast, the special prosecutor contended that Khadija Shah had been involved in creating a law and order crisis, inciting chaos, and partaking in the Jinnah House attack. He further alleged that she had chanted anti-state slogans. Justice Aalia responded to this by highlighting that staging protests on a leader’s call was a cultural norm in their society and advised against excessive scrutiny of such matters.
Khadija Shah’s mother, husband, and sister were present in the courtroom when the decision was announced. The relief granted by the court was met with gratitude from Khadija Shah’s family.
Simultaneously, the same division bench extended post-arrest bails to six other accused individuals involved in the May 9 events related to riots, anarchy, and law and order disruption. The bench also dismissed the bail application of a defendant named Sufyan.
Khadija Shah’s arrest dates back to May 23 in connection with the Jinnah House attack, which transpired in Lahore after the arrest of PTI chairman Imran Khan on May 9. Khadija voluntarily surrendered at the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) Iqbal Town police station, where she was taken into custody.
The daughter of former finance minister Salman Shah, Khadija Shah, is known for her role in the renowned fashion label Elan and her active support for the PTI. She was suspected of leading the attack on Jinnah House, which at the time served as the residence of the Lahore Corps Commander.
Days before her arrest, an audio clip circulated on social media in which Khadija Shah described the hardships her family had faced during this period.
In a related legal development, on July 12, a division bench of the LHC dismissed a set of petitions challenging the detention of Khadija Shah and other female PTI supporters, including Huma Saeed and others. These petitioners had also questioned the legality of the judicial remand awarded by the anti-terrorism court (ATC) and the physical remand by the administrative judge ATC. Additionally, they had sought the declaration of an identification parade conducted on June 1, 2023, as inoperative and unlawful.