Famed Pakistani lawyer Jalila Haider stopped from traveling to UK, detained briefly at Lahore airport

Web Desk
January 20, 2020

The Women Democratic Front president was reportedly going to attend a conference in London

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Rights lawyer Jalila Haider on Monday was reportedly detained by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport for six hours, and kept from travelling to London as her name was on a "watch list", Geo News reported.

Citing unnamed sources, the TV channel said that Haider’s name was added to the list as she was involved in ‘anti-state’ activities. She was later released after her statement was recorded.

The Women Democratic Front president was purportedly travelling to London to attend a conference.

While talking BBC Urdu, Haider said that she was told by FIA officials that her name was on the B-Category of no-fly list and that she cannot leave.

The officials also "impounded my CNIC and passport before returning it after seven hours", she said, adding that "they told me that I can book the next flight to UK.”

HRCP questions detention

After Haider was told she can pursue her travel plans, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) welcomed the authorities' decision.

However, it "questioned the need for having detained her illegally for six hours on the claim that her name was on the ECL."

"We condemn this ill-conceived action because it simply continues the pattern of arbitrarily targeting the freedom of movement of human rights defenders and journalists without cause," the HRCP said in a statement on Twitter.

BBC's 100 Women 2019 list

In October last year, Haider was named among the 100 most influential women of 2019 by BBC. She is a lawyer and provides free legal services to women embroiled in poverty across the country.

Besides being a vocal activist for the rights of women, she is also the founder of "We the Humans" — a non-profit organisation working with local communities to provide opportunities to vulnerable women.

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