Activist Jalila Haider released after being held by FIA for 7 hours at Lahore Airport
Lawyer and human rights activist Jalila Haider was released on Monday after being detained by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for seven hours at the Lahore airport, Dawn reported.
Haider, while talking to Dawn, said that she was stopped by airport authorities when she was boarding a flight to the United Kingdom, where she had to attend a conference on feminism arranged by the University of Sussex. When she asked why she was being stopped from boarding the flight, she was told that her name was on the no-fly list because of her ‘anti-state activities’.
Haider said that she was made to wait for seven hours but no one came to see her, after which authorities returned her passport and told her that she can book her flight again and go to the UK.
The activist said she will not leave until she met her mother, who was worried since news of her detention spread. She added that she was not involved in any ‘anti-state activity’.
News of Haider’s detention spread on social media after the activist posted on her Facebook page that she had been stopped at the Lahore airport. Her sister — who had come to see her off — and social media activists gathered at the airport, holding placards demanding Haider’s release.
“[I was] not told the reasons behind it (placement of her name on the no-fly list), but they said that it was because of my anti-state activities. I said ‘I haven’t been involved in any anti-state activity’,” Haider told BBC Urdu. “Anyway, they […] impounded my passport and CNIC and told me to sit down and that they’ll hold further investigation and try to find out who placed my name on the list and why.”
Haider hails from Balochistan and belongs to the 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.
Last year, she was listed as one of the 100 most inspiring and influential women by the BBC