A special customs court here on Saturday declared model Ayyan Ali a proclaimed offender over her continued absence from proceedings in a currency smuggling case.
Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta issued perpetual arrest warrants for her. He observed that the accused was repeatedly summoned but she failed to turn up in the court. Her bailable and non-bailable arrest warrants were also issued but to no avail, he added.
A customs official informed the judge that he visited a Karachi residence of the accused following the address provided by her to serve warrants but was told by local people that she had not visited the place for a long time.
The court directed the prosecution to present all witnesses on the next hearing on March 16.
At the previous hearing, the court had warned that upon failure to turn up, the process to declare her a proclaimed offender will be initiated.
The court dismissed three different applications filed by the model seeking exemption from appearing in court, cancellation of non-bailable arrest warrants issued against her and quashment of the case.
Customs prosecutor Amin Feroze said it had been two years since she last appeared in the court. Her counsel contended that she was afraid of being arrested upon arrival in the country and requested the judge to cancel the warrants against her.
Last year in October, the court had issued non-bailable arrest warrants against the model after she didn’t appear in court despite orders. Her lawyer presented a medical certificate, pleading that her client be exempted from appearance owing to her ill-health.
However, the court had dismissed the plea and reissued non-bailable warrant for the model’s arrest.
In March 2015 authorities, acting on a tip-off, arrested her at the VIP lounge of Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad on money laundering charges before she could board a flight to Dubai.
It is pertinent to that under Pakistani laws, a citizen is barred to carry over $10,000 on a flight. However, the authorities had found $506,800 tucked in her luggage. She was released on bail in July 2016 and her lawyer claimed she had no intention to take money outside Pakistan.