RAWALPINDI- A court for control of narcotics substance (CNS) on Tuesday sentenced a British national of Pakistani origin to life imprisonment after she was convicted of attempting to smuggle 63kgs of heroin.
Khadija Shah, 26, a resident of Birmingham, was arrested at Benazir Bhutto International Airport by Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) in May 2012. She was also directed to pay Rs 0.3 million as fine or else she would have to spend 18 months more in jail. However, Khadija denied charges levelled against her. Her lawyer said that she would file an appeal against the verdict.
According to the prosecution, ANF team arrested the defendant during routine checking of passengers at airport and recovered 63.5kgs of heroin from her suitcases.
It is pertinent to mention here that Khadija Shah was six-month pregnant when she was arrested. She gave birth to a daughter, Malaika, in jail. She had her two other children with her at the time of her arrest. They have since returned to Britain.
AFP adds: Her lawyer Shehzad Akbar said she had no idea there were drugs in her luggage and they would appeal.
Legal charity Reprieve urged the British government to help. "This is a terrible outcome for Khadija and her baby Malaika," Maya Foa of Reprieve said in a statement.
"As happens in hundreds of cases, she was used as a drugs mule without her knowledge, and yet is facing life in a Pakistani prison."
A spokesman for the British High Commission in Islamabad said they were providing consular support to Shah and her family.
Pakistan's war-torn neighbour Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium, the raw material for heroin. Efforts to cut production have failed in the 13 years since US-led forces toppled the Taliban regime there.
More than 45 percent of Afghanistan's illicit opiates pass through Pakistan on their way to markets in Europe and Asia, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
FAMILY DISPUTE CLAIMS THREE LIVES IN RAWALPINDI: A father and his son, who were injured during a dispute on Monday last, succumbed to their injuries here at Benazir Bhutto Hospital on Tuesday.
Dr Ali Gohar and his son Abdul Ghani were injured by one Anjum, father-in-law of Ali's another son Dr Abdul Ghaffar. Dr Abdul Ghaffar was also killed on Monday night in the same incident.
"Police have ramped up their efforts to apprehend the killer," said SP Karamat Ullah Malik while talking to The Nation.
Telling details about this triple murder case, the SP said that Dr Abdul Ghaffar contracted second marriage with Dr Sumaira. "He belonged to Sukkur where he contracted his first marriage. He and his first wife had three children," the SP said, adding that a dispute occurred between Dr Ghaffar and his second wife after which she left him and started living with her parents. In the meanwhile, Ghaffar called his father Dr Ali and brother Ghani to look after his private hospital.
"On Monday, Sumaira's father Anjum and her brother along with six others came to Dr Ghaffar's house to settle the dispute. However, a brawl occurred after which Anjum and others started firing. Ghaffar was killed on the spot while Ali and Ghani got injured critically," he added.