Adiala Jail has attained an historic place in Pak politics over a period of time as there is hardly any top leader who has not seen the inner empire within the four walls of this jail where the jail superintendent rules it with impunity with the support of his cabinet comprising of deputy superintendents. These deputy superintendents are vested with the powers of maintaining order in respective barracks housing convicts and under trial prisoners.
The jail regime is like a kingdom where the top hierarchy of the jail administration demand and ensure of the prisoners to act like their subjects and not human beings. It requires everyone to keep their eyes on the ground while any of the top hierarchy passes by them. Every new entrant has to go through a disgraceful and humiliating exercise next morning when he presents himself before the deputy superintendent for ‘Malaheza’ (inspection). They are made to sit on the ground in a queue keeping their eyes down throughout the inspection and any deviation would earn him public punishment. There is one thing, which goes in the favour of the jail administrators and that’s “equality”. There is no discrimination between an under trial prisoner or a convict and both receive the same treatment in terms of humiliation. One can feel the sense of terror and fear in every corner of the jail.
However, the incarcerated politicians and bureaucrats who can influence the jail authorities, either through their political clout or financial clout, can pass their days inside the jail a bit comfortably as compared to ordinary prisoners. They can secure their place in the jail hospital with the courtesy of the jail doctor, who also enjoys a considerable authority under the jail manual. He has his own network to deal with the prisoners looking for place inside the medical Centre of the jail.
The jail staff is hardly friendly unless their palms are continuously greased. The moment one enters the gate of the jail; his first encounter would be with the jail official, who would carry out his personal search to see that the new entrant does not take any contraband item, cash or mobile phone inside the jail. If he wants to take cash with him, then he has to bribe the official who would take his share from the cash and would let you in with it.
It was the month of December 1996 post fall of MBB govt when I was taken into custody from my FIA office whereas many loyal FIA officers had informed me not to come to the office as the decision to arrest you had been already taken since you had earlier refused to become approver against Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto/Asif Zardari and General Babar, the then interior minister.
While sitting with senior colleagues like Saeed Alrai, the then Director and Ch. Iftikhar, the then ADG, I was told to leave quietly but I decided to face. However, when asked, I was told that the grounds for my arrest would be in the mind were: 1. Investigation into creation of IJI & my visit to Germany under the instruction of the then PM/ then interior minister. 2. Investigation into fake and benami accounts in different banks, transfer and deposit of millions of dollars in these accounts and creation of loan facilities in favour of Hudabiya Engineering and Hudabiya Paper Mills and investigation into Avenfield flats/Yellow Cab scheme/Motorway project and Mehran Bank scam.
The director HQ told me that there is no case/matter against you but instructions are to arrest you. FIA and other agencies could not establish anything and finally by evening I was taken to local FIA office. By 11 pm I was put in a cell where there were ice blocks in a corner of the cell for bringing the temperature down below normal temperature with the intentions of torturing me. I was in my normal shalwar qameez and it was terrible cold and in order to keep myself warm I started static running in low speed.
It was for the first time when I came to know, when I was produced before a magistrate for remand, that a FIA team had conducted a raid under the supervision of a local magistrate on the house of a human smuggler at Lahore three years back and it was all alleged that I along with the assistant director of FIA had stolen tolas of gold recovered from the house. It was a ridiculous allegation as I was neither present at the house nor part of the raiding party but FIA was directed to register the case against me to justify my arrest. This case was one of the series of the fake cases subsequently registered against me just to keep me under pressure to secure a statement from me against Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari and Gen. (R) Baber which I continued to decline.
However, all these fake cases could not stand the test of the trial and I was acquitted from all the cases. Unfortunately these fake cases made my journey to Adiala jail and I suffered for supervising the investigation above mentioned cases for one year as Farooq Leghari and Sharif family wanted to teach me a lesson for these cases. I was twice taken to PM House and relieved and senior appointments were offered against my affidavits to implicate SMBB /SAZ in fake cases. I categorically denied to be an approver.
What a coincidence that I spent a year in jail’s Kholi Number 1 (The prison cell is popularly known as Kholi) where later on even Shahbaz Sharif was also lodged and subsequently Asif Ali Zardari was imprisoned there and we all shared the same Behshti (attendant) during being prisoner of Kholi Number 1.
I feel sorry that now Mian Nawaz Sharif is in the same Kholi Number 1, in the centre of prison. Mian Shahbaz Sharif once came to inspect in jail being the CM but he chose not to come to my Kholi but later on I learnt in exile that he was lodged by Gen. Pervez Musharraf in the same cell.
It was interesting that his helicopter during the same visit flew from the jail and for few minutes remained static over my Kholi and I was for my “Delai “ and Delai is name given to the permission to walk for one hour. I told my attendant that Mian Shahbaz has shown Takabbar (pride) making me realise that FIA under me had made cases and now he is watching today and showing me his power to imprison me and the day is not far he will land here in the same prison as it did happen later.
It was perhaps for other reasons that he landed in the same Kholi. This barrack has the honours to see the helplessness of big rulers/ministers/prime minister and the future president.
I have written a book on my memories of jail, which will be published soon. I suffered in jail in the said Barrack for mere discharging my normal legitimate duty as an FIA officer and I feel bad to see that now Mian Nawaz Sharif is in the same Kholi for the same matter of Pak Lane flats which I had investigated and he is convicted of, and it teaches us great lesson that time is itself a great investigator and a judge and it is the “Time” which prisoned Nawaz Sharif.
It was this case that my many investigators had to leave in exile in worst circumstance and one of them is Sajjad Haider, the then assistant director (lately retired as director FIA) and some inspectors suffered in the form of suspensions and termination for this investigation alone.
When I look 25 years back I am convinced that I had been in exile for 11 years due to the investigations of these cases.
Trust me I am not happy that Mian Nawaz Sharif is imprisoned now but I certainly resent to our criminal justice system being out-dated, as it has no sense of time line. Rule of law comes into force if the law is implemented with time line as per the given provisions of the Cr.P.C.
Let me share with you all that entering jail is the most horrible experience for any person especially for a top law enforce including top politician/prime minister.
Our prisons have been the host of political prisoners/Generals/other army officers for failed coups though Gen Musharraf could avoid Adiala and managed to land in a mini-Adiala in his own Farm House.
I remember that dreadful evening when I was taken from a safe house to the jail, where I had spent few hours in the company of Hussain Lawai, the then employee of Faysal Islamic Bank and Qureshi, former Chief Secretary. The entry into jail gate is very unfriendly and one feels convicted even before formally convicted which is unfair with under trial prisoner. ‘B’ class is useless as there is hardly any reasonable facility.
I also was shifted from Kholi No 1 to yet another cells where all accused arrested by me as director FIA from Lashkar Jhangvi were prisoned. It was the cell dedicated for the terrorists and it was in fact torture and punishment for me to be taken there. I was told later that same cell allotted to me was previously used by Sh. Rasheed when he was prisoned here.
It was small room with one small window and a small toilet in one corner to ensure the inmate is tortured with dirty foul smell from dirty wall-less bathroom.
The dealings and the time spent with other jail associates is another story but it gave me a chance to learn their true stories and their conversion from ordinary God fearing boys to terrorists. I will narrate my experience of first arresting them and then be in the same prison day and night with them. Thank God I faced no problem from them and they rather remained respectful.
Though anti forces of mine with the Said govt had managed to lodge me in the dangerous terrorist barrack considering that I would be killed in their hands.
The jail superintendent told me in confidence that the then government was suspecting that I would escape from jail and that is why I was shifted to high security barack of terrorists. I hope Mian sahib is not lodged in any of the terrorist cells or with PTI associated prisoners.
I do not see Mian Nawaz Sharif and Maryam in the jail for a very long time and it is matter of weeks due to legal space available for them. It is unfortunate to have our thrice-elected PM in prison where as per our political history the prison shines politician and the people see it as additional qualification for politicians. I think Sh. Rasheed would endorse it, as he is also fellow student of this great un-regulated university called Adiala.
In the end I appreciate Mian Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz Sharif for their right decision to return to surrender before the rule of law. Let us see how Shahbaz Sharif uses the present political situation to help his brother while he in jail or he prefers to promote his son Hamza Shahbaz instead of Maryam Nawaz.
It is another story that Shahbaz Sharif could not force his way to the airport to receive his returning brother who was expecting a big crowd led by Shahbaz Sharif at the airport. Mian Nawaz Sharif faced the same situation before as well when he returned from exile and not a single soul was present and he was sent back to UK by General Musharraf. The same thing has been repeated by his party and the difference now is that he was sent to jail unhindered as the awaited fleet of Shahbaz Sharif could not reach due to unexplained reasons and perhaps known to Mian Nawaz Sharif himself. Whereas, Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz both showed full maturity before the media and at the time of handed themselves over to the law enforcers at Lahore airport. Let us see what would be the next move of Mian Shahbaz Sharif to get the desired relief to his brother and niece.
I wish Mian Nawaz Sharif had not spoken against the institutions whereas over the period of time I have observed that he has improved his skills to demonstrate being stable in the present developed situation. Let us see how PML N can cash the high profile return of Mian Nawaz Sharif.
The writer is Chairman of think tank "global eye" & former interior minister of Pakistan
Email: rmalik1212gmail .com, Twitter Senrehmanmalik, GlobalEye_GSA, WhatsApp +923325559393