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Jalila Haider released after 7 hours of detention at Lahore airport

She was stopped by FIA officials when she was boarding a flight to the United Kingdom

Jalila HaiderJalila Haider, who was detained for over 6 hours at the Lahore airport by FIA officials, has been released
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Human rights attorney and political activist Jalila Haider, who was detained for over 6 hours at the Lahore airport by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials on Monday, has been released.

She was stopped by FIA officials when she was boarding a flight to the United Kingdom, where she had to attend a conference at the University of Sussex.

Airport authorities told her that the move was being taken due to her ‘anti-state activities’. FIA officials seized her passports and travel documents.

As being reported, Haider’s name was placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) last November. No reason has been stated for putting her name on ECL.

“When I reached the immigration counter, I was told that my name is on the ECL,” said Haider while adding that she was kept in “informal custody” at the airport.

“The FIA officers opened a website and told me that I am suspect of being involved in anti-state activities,” she added.

She further  stated that although the officials informed that her name was added to the ECL in November, yet she was never notified.

“My flight was scheduled to take off at 6:40 AM and I was detained at the airport from 4 AM to 10 AM,” said Haider.

However, after she was released after recording statement, Haider said that officials denied her being on the ECL and told her that she could take another flight.

“According to them, it was a technical glitch,” she said. Subsequently, she was allowed to leave the airport

Following her custody, a number of leftist activists staged protest at the Lahore airport demanding Jalila’s release.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) also condemned the detention of Haider and termed it an “ill-conceived action” that continued the tradition of targeting human rights defenders and journalists.

Haider belongs to Balochistan representing minority Hazara community. She is an advocate and the founder of We The Humans — a non-profit organisation which works to lift local communities by strengthening opportunities for vulnerable women and children.

Currently, she is providing free legal services to women in poverty. In October last year, Haider was named among the 100 most influential women of 2019 by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

the authorSamra Mazhar

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