Last year, Khadija Shah was apprehended under suspicion of carrying a suitcase that contained $4.75 million worth (approximately 63 kilograms) of pure Afghan heroin through Islamabad Airport. 

The 25-year-old Birmingham resident claimed to have been given the bag by two men, most likely members of a drug smuggling ring who had been complicit in grooming her for months, if not years.
Antinarcotics officers were notified that she would be carrying the shipment and she was arrested immediately. 

In Pakistan, the death penalty is applicable to anyone charged with carrying more than one kilogram of heroin, entitling Shah to be hanged—the country's preferred method of execution—63 times over.

 A moratorium on executions had been put in place by the Pakistan Peoples Party (formerly led by Benazir Bhutto) in 2008, but yesterday that was lifted, opening Shah up to the real possibility of losing her life.

However, her trial opened in March and is still some way away from reaching a verdict. In the meantime, she's being detained at Pakistan’s infamously unhygienic Adiala jail, where she's been held since her arrest.
Enduring these circumstances would be traumatic for anyone, but Khadija’s story is exceptionally troubling due to the direct involvement of her small children. At the time of her arrest, Khadija had her five-year-old son, Ibrahim, and four-year-old daughter, Aleesha, in tow. She was also six months pregnant, and gave birth to her baby daughter Malaika during a one-day respite from prison in October last year.

The two older children were eventually released and returned home to Birmingham. But, to date, Khadija’s youngest daughter hasn’t spent a day outside of the prison’s walls, and there's no immediate timeframe set for her return. That’s because, in Pakistan, there is no legal prohibition against keeping babies in prison. Despite aggressive outbreaks of measles and tuberculosis, Malaika has also not received any form of immunization, while Khadija doesn't have access to sterilizing equipment, bottles, or formula milk. In a previous interview, she explained that there is no cot and that she and her daughter share a raised bunk. She also added that Malaika is often bitten by mosquitoes and keeps the other women in the cell awake most of the night with her crying.

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