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Model Ayyan Ali set free after 4 months imprisonment  

RAWALPINDI: Supermodel Ayyan Ali was released from Adiala jail on bail Thursday, where she was forced to spend another day despite obtaining bail from the Lahore High Court (LHC) on July 13.

The model’s ‘robkar’ documents were issued early Thursday morning. Ayyan was asked to furnish two surety bonds of Rs500,000 each to the jail authorities for her release, but she could not be released on Wednesday, July 14, due to procedural formalities.

According to procedure, an accused can only be released following the issuance of a ‘robkar’, a court letter by the trial court.

In Ayyan’s case, this letter had to be issued by the special court for customs, excise and taxation but the judge for the said court was on leave.

The supermodel’s counsel Khurram Latif Khosa told media that the LHC, in its order, directed the judge of the trial court and district and sessions judge of Rawalpindi to issue the ‘robkar’.

According to him, a certified copy of the LHC order was produced in the sessions court but at the time, the sessions judge was not present and the duty judge is not authorised to issue the letter. However, he said that by Thursday morning, the order would be produced before the special judge banking court, who is overseeing the customs court as well.

After the formalities are complete and the LHC order along with the court letter are submitted to jail authorities, Ayyan Ali will be released, he said.

A special prosecutor of the customs department, Ameen Feroze Khan, opposed the model’s bail petition, saying she had been arrested from a prohibited area of Islamabad airport where a passenger could not carry more than $10,000. He said the customs authorities had found $508,000 in her luggage in March.

The prosecutor said the petitioner had collected a boarding receipt from the counter of a private airline in Rawal Lounge to travel to Dubai and all the evidence collected by the investigators established that the model was trying to smuggle the money.

Deputy Attorney General Zafar Abbas Gillani also opposed the bail petition on behalf of the federal government.

Former Punjab governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, counsel for Ms Ali, said his client had been arrested on false charges of money laundering. He said the Customs Act lacked interpretation of attempted money laundering. He said the petitioner had not been allowed to record her statement after the arrest, which was mandatory under Section 139 of the act.

The counsel said the petitioner had told the investigators at a very initial stage that she had got the money by selling property. He said the petitioner had carried the money to the airport to hand it over to her brother who was arriving from Dubai the same day.

Mr Khosa said the investigation had been completed and challan submitted in the trial court, therefore, there was no need to keep the petitioner behind the bars.

The bench comprising Justice Muhammad Anwarul Haq and Justice Arshad Mahmood Tabbasum ordered the government to release the petitioner on bail and observed that prima facie the prosecution had failed to establish its case and the media had overplayed the matter.

The model applied to the LHC and a Rawalpindi customs court for bail multiple times, but each petition was rejected until yesterday’s LHC hearing, which took place exactly four months after she was first arrested.

Ayyan was arrested by customs officials on March 14 from Benazir Bhutto International Airport Islamabad after $508,000 were recovered from her possession.



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