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Rights lawyer Jalila Haider detained at Lahore airport over seven hours

Jan 20, 2020

(Current Balochistan)

Political activist and attorney Jalila Haider was released on Monday after being detained for over seven hours by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials at the Lahore airport.

According to details, FIA officials said that Jalila Haider, who was due to fly to the United Kingdom to attend a workshop at the University of Sussex, was detained at the airport as her name was placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) last November. No reason has been stated for putting her name on the no-fly list.

Pakistan has a history of enforced disappearances over the past decade – mainly confined to conflict zones (Balochistan), where Haider lives and works.

The military routinely denies being involved, and criticism of the powerful security forces, including over such disappearances, is largely seen as a “red line” in the region.

“Yet another #humanrightsdefender placed on Pakistan’s *mysterious* no-fly list,” tweeted Rabia Mehmood, a Pakistan researcher for Amnesty International.

“@Advjalila is a fierce defender of the rights of the marginalized, her name must be immediately removed from the Exit Control List. #istandwithjalila”.
According to Jalila, she was kept in “informal custody” at the airport. “When I reached the immigration counter, I was told that my name is on the ECL,” she said.
“The FIA officials opened a website and told me that I am accused of being involved in anti-state activities,” she added.

Jalila Haider asserted 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,” she said.

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

In 2018 she went on a hunger strike demanding protection for the Hazara community.
Haider founded “We the Humans”, a non-profit organisation working with local communities to provide opportunities for vulnerable women and children. Last year, she was included in BBC’s list of “100 Most Influential Women”.


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