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LAHORE: A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday reserved its verdict on post-arrest bail petitions of Khadija Shah in the Corps Commander House and Askari Tower attack cases.

The bench also reserved its verdict on bail petition of Arbaz Khan in a case of stealing a gas cylinder from the Corps Commander House during the May 9 protests. The bench, however, allowed bails to other two suspects Rubina Khan and Qasim.

Earlier, Justice Aalia Neelum, who headed the bench, asked the prosecution whether Khadija Shah was nominated in the FIRs. The prosecutor said the petitioner was not nominated in the FIRs, but she was identified by the prosecution witnesses in the identity parade. He said the petitioner was accused of inciting people against the state and chanting objectionable slogans during the violent protests.

The prosecutor said Khadija Shah kept posting videos and photos of the protests on social media.

The bench asked the prosecutor what was illegal in the statements of the petitioner. “Is it illegal to allege that the dignity of mothers and sisters are not protected?” Justice Aalia Neelum asked the prosecutor.

The judge further asked the prosecution whether there was any video evidence to prove that the petitioner vandalized and torched Askari Tower in Gulberg.

The prosecutor said it was not the case of the prosecution against the petitioner. He said the main allegation was inciting the public that led to the riots and attacks on May 9.

Justice Aalia Neelum observed that holding protests on the call of a political leader was a norm in the society. “The government cannot prevent citizens from holding peaceful protests,” Justice Aalia added.

The counsel for Khadija Shah argued that the police arrested the petitioner without any evidence and purely on political grounds. He said the petitioner was a mother of three children and the youngest one was five-year-old, who direly needed mother care. He said all the charges against the petitioner were false as she was not involved in any illegal activity or violence. He asked the court to allow the petitions and release the petitioner on bail.

The bench after hearing the parties at length reserved its verdict on the bail petitions of Khadija Shah. The bench, however, allowed bail to other two suspects. Justice Asjad Javed Ghural was the other member of the bench.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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