British mom could face death in Pakistan for drug smuggling
The pregnant 25-year-old, who claims she was taking suitcases to England as a favour for a man she met in Pakistan, has been arrested for smuggling, and, if convicted, could be receive the death penalty.
Yesterday morning, Khadija Shah arrived at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport to catch a flight home to Birmingham. In tow, were her son Ibrahim Munir, 6, and her daughter Aleesha Munir, 4. The three were attempting to return to the U.K. after spending six weeks in Pakistan visiting family members.
Airport officials found the woman seemed to be extremely nervous so her three bags were carefully scrutinized. Officials found 123 packets of heroin in hidden compartments in the suitcases. The cumulative weight of the drugs was 64 kg or approximately 140 pounds. The value of the heroin was estimated to be £3.2 million or $5.1 million in U.S. dollars.
As reported by the Daily Mail
, anyone caught with at least 10kg (22 pounds) of illegal drugs faces a sentence of life imprisonment or the death penalty.
It is believed to be the largest drug shipment ever bound for the United Kingdom from Pakistan.
Brigadier Faheen Ahmad, the Rawalpindi Commander of the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), told the Express-Tribune
that authorities don't believe the woman acted alone but was acting in consort with gangsters. Two men have been taken into custody based upon information supplied by the British national.
Amar Ali, Shah's current boyfriend and the father of her unborn child, plans to fly to Pakistan to bring the children back to Birmingham. He told the Daily Mail
that he spoke with Shah prior to her leaving for the airport. He quoted her as saying,
This morning when I was coming out of the guest house to leave for the airport, someone came to the guest house and requested me to carry his bags along with me and hand them over to his relatives in Birmingham.
Ali said he warned Shah not to do it, shortly before being cut off. Ali also said he spoke to Shah after she was placed in custody and she told him she had been beaten up by the police.
As reported by Xinhua
, although Pakistan does have the death penalty for serious drug offences, most of those convicted receive jail sentences. And according to Amnesty International
, although there has been a moratorium on the death penalty since 2008, 356 people were sentenced to death in 2011 and there are approximately 8,000 people currently on death row.
The death penalty in Pakistan is carried out by hanging.