Pakistan grants US consular access to detained PTI leader Khadija Shah
By News Desk
June 8, 2023 03:29 PM
The Ministry of Interior has granted the US Embassy in Islamabad consular access to PTI leader Khadija Shah, who is in custody in connection with May 9 vandalism, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Sources confided to 24News TV channel on Thursday that the American embassy submitted an application with the ministry requesting access to Khadija Shah.
The ministry received the request through Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Interior Ministry has directed Punjab Home Department to extend full cooperation to the US Consulate in Lahore in this regard.
It may be mentioned here that the US State Department has called on Pakistan on Tuesday last to grant consular access to fashion designer and PTI leader Khadija Shah who has dual citizenship.
The State Department said its diplomats have not had access to Khadija Shah, the founder of the luxury fashion brand Elan, who was produced before an anti-terrorism court following protests over the May 9 arrest of ousted prime minister Imran Khan.
"We have asked Pakistani officials for consular access to her," State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters in Washington, confirming Ms Shah's dual nationality.
“Believe Ms Shah is dual national and so we continue to engage directly with the government of Pakistan,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that the US always urges all foreign governments to allow and follow counsellor notifications for procedures when American citizens are detained.
He indicated that more US citizens have been arrested.
"Whenever a US citizen is arrested overseas, we stand ready to provide all appropriate assistance and we expect Pakistani authorities to respect all fair-trial guarantees owed to these detainees," Patel said.
However, he added that he would have to ‘check’ about the exact number of US citizens under custody in Pakistan adter the incidents of May 9.
“Obviously these circumstances, depending on privacy considerations, we’ll have to circle back on that,” Vedant said.
Shah's family said that she took part non-violently in protests on May 9. Some demonstrators took aim at the powerful military, alleging a plot to sideline Khan, who was arrested on corruption allegations.
Shah's family said that she voluntarily showed up to an investigation only to be arrested. When she appeared in an anti-terrorism court, her face was covered.
Thousands of people, including grassroots supporters and key Khan aides, have been rounded up since the Supreme Court declared that his detention was illegal and allowed him to walk free.
Today a court in Lahore has rejected a request for physical remand of Khadija Shah and instead sent her to prison on 14-day judicial remand.
Reporter Awais Kiyani