Top Pakistani model Ayaan Ali freed after four months in jail

  • Agencies, Islamabad
  • Updated: Jul 17, 2015 09:37 IST
In this file photo, police officers escort Pakistani model Ayaan Ali as she leaves a court in Rawalpindi. (AP Photo)

Top Pakistani model Ayaan Ali was freed from a high-security jail near Islamabad on Thursday, four months after she was caught trying to fly to Dubai with half a million dollars in cash stashed in her luggage, a defense lawyer said.

Ali, 21, has been in the government custody since March when authorities nabbed her at the VIP lounge of Islamabad's airport.

Under Pakistani laws, no one can carry over $10,000 on a flight, but authorities found $506,800 tucked into her luggage at the time.

On Thursday, Ali's lawyer, Latif Khosa, said his client was freed from the Adyala Jail in Rawalpindi, a city near the capital.

"Yes, I can confirm that Ayaan Ali has been freed under an order from the Lahore high court," Khosa said.

He said the court granted bail to Ali on Tuesday but the model was released on Thursday after her paperwork was completed.

Ayaan was arrested in Islamabad before boarding a plane to Dubai with $500,000, allegedly given to her by political heavyweights or businessmen. (Photo- @AYYANWORLD on Twitter)

Ali has been the focus of intense Pakistani media attention since authorities caught her on March 14.

Ali mostly remained tight-lipped during court hearings but her lawyer insisted that she didn't want to take money outside Pakistan. Khosa said Ali will attend any future court hearings, if she is summoned by the judge.

Khosa told Dawn News that the Lahore high court ordered the judge of the trial court and district and sessions judge of Rawalpindi to issue Ali's release order.

Ali, whose pale grey eyes have stared out of innumerable ads in Pakistan, has got huge media attention during her more- than-a-dozen court appearances.

Several rumours and stories were spun out during the four months period she spent in the jail. But it was not clearly known whether she owned the money or was trying to smuggle it on the behalf of some "influential politician".

Zulfiqar Mirza, an estranged leader of Pakistan People's Party (PPP), had alleged that the model was linked with party chief and former president Asif Ali Zardari, which was denied by the PPP.

Ali's lawyer Khosa too is a senior PPP leader and has also served as the governor of Punjab when Zardari was president.

There were also reports that Ali was part of a group involved in smuggling foreign currency out of Pakistan to launder it as the same money was sent back as remittances, considered legally earned.

Read: A Pakistani supermodel and a murky world of fashion-politician nexus

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