British mother sent to life in prison with new born in Pakistan

Khadija Shah with her daughter Malaika at Adiala Jail in Pakistan.

A mother from Small Heath, Birmingham has been sentenced to life in prison along with her new born baby daughter.

In 2012 Khadija Shah, 26, was a arrested while heavily pregnant at Islamabad City Airport.

She was convicted of smuggling 63kg of heroin despite denying the charges and protesting her innocence.

Khadija claims that she had agreed to take a number of suitcases with her to Pakistan from men she had only recently met and had no idea what was inside the suitcases.

While under arrest she gave birth to her daughter, Malaika, and was then sent back to Adiala Jail in October 2012.

Her two other children who were sent to prison with her have since returned back to their home in Birmingham. Malaika, 17 months old has remained with her in jail.

Legal charity Reprieve have raised serious questions with the government relating to the £5 million the UK has given Pakistan in the form of counter-narcotics aid.

The concerns lie with the heavy hand that Pakistan has taken on non violent drug offences. Many life sentences have been handed out. In some cases even death sentences.

Maya Foa, director of Reprieve’s Death Penalty team, said ministers had refused to take steps in response so far.

She said: “In light of the excessively harsh sentences Pakistan hands down to vulnerable, exploited women such as Khadija, it seems hard to justify the millions in aid Britain has contributed to the country’s counter-narcotics operations.

“This is a terrible outcome for Khadija and her baby Malaika.

“As happens in hundreds of cases, she was used as a drugs mule without her knowledge, and yet is facing life in a Pakistani prison.

“The UK government must ensure that Khadija gets the urgent assistance she needs to appeal her sentence so that her baby doesn’t grow up behind bars.”

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