ISLAMABAD - On the request of the US government, the Punjab Home Department on Thursday approved consular access for fashion designer Khadija Shah, a US citizen of Pakistani origin, who has been detained for her alleged involvement in an arson attack on Corps Commander residence in Lahore on May 9.
The approval was made following a decision of the Ministry of Interior, the official sources privy to the development informed. Earlier this week, the US government said that it had asked the Pakistani government to grant consular access to Shah. It is expected that officials of the US Consul General in Lahore will soon meet Shah, who belonged to the family of the former army chief, in Kot Lakhpat Jail. Upon receiving the request for consular access from US officials, the Ministry of Interior issued a no-objection certificate (NOC) and instructed the additional chief secretary of the Punjab Home Department to grant consular access to Shah.
The Ministry of Interior has also informed the Punjab IG Prisons and the superintendent of Kot Lakhpat Jail about his decision. Earlier in the day, the Foreign Office spokesperson during her weekly briefing said that the interior ministry was looking into the matter of giving consular access to Shah. Last Tuesday, the Principal Deputy Spokesperson for the US Department of State had said that Washington stood “ready to provide all appropriate assistance” to its citizens imprisoned abroad. The spokesperson further stated that the US was actively following Shah’s case and had requested the Pakistani government to allow consular access.