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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Khadija Shah’s Arson Case: Case Records Missing, Next Hearing Scheduled

The court, dissatisfied with the police's handling, questions the timing of actions, the lack of interrogation during custody, and seeks assurances regarding potential future arrests.

The Investigation Officer (IO) handling Khadija Shah’s case failed to produce essential records related to the May 9 riots during the recent hearing. The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) duty judge, expressing dissatisfaction, scheduled the next hearing for November 13, providing the IO with a final opportunity to present the elusive case records. This development follows a series of court appearances where the IO’s absence had been noted, raising concerns about the progress of the case.

During the latest proceedings, the absence of the relevant judge added further complexity. The duty judge, overseeing post-arrest bail proceedings, was informed that the IO was engaged in other hearings related to the May 9 case, promising a report by the next date. This failure to produce records prompted the court to transfer the matter to the relevant court where the challan had been submitted for trial proceedings, marking a significant shift in the legal landscape.

Complex Legal Battle Unfolds

The case in question involves Khadija Shah, facing charges of abetting arson in the Rahat Bakery case. This legal saga began after the Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench, led by Justice Aalia Neelum, granted post-arrest bail to Khadija in two FIRs related to arson in Askari Tower and the vandalism of Jinnah House. However, a revelation from the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore disclosed only two FIRs against her in response to the May 9 riots. Subsequently, she was re-arrested in a third FIR for alleged involvement in the Rahat Bakery incident.

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In response to what she perceives as deception by police officials regarding FIR registration, Khadija filed a contempt plea, still pending before Justice Ali Baqar Najafi. The legal battle intensifies as questions arise about the transparency of the police’s actions and the handling of Khadija’s arrests. The Inspector General Police (IGP) Punjab, Dr. Usman Anwar, faced scrutiny during the last proceeding, with the judge seeking answers about the delay in interrogation, the necessity of waiting for the court’s final order on bail, and guarantees against further arrests if bail is granted in the third case.

As the legal proceedings unfold, unanswered questions surround Khadija Shah’s case. The court, dissatisfied with the police’s handling, questions the timing of actions, the lack of interrogation during custody, and seeks assurances regarding potential future arrests. The pending contempt plea against police officials adds another layer of complexity, reflecting the broader challenges in ensuring transparency and accountability in legal proceedings. As the case progresses to the relevant court, the legal community awaits further developments, anticipating how this intricate legal battle will shape Khadija Shah’s fate.