close
Saturday May 18, 2024

Lawyers, prison officials create confusion over Imran Khan's transfer to Adiala jail

IHC has already ordered authorities to move PTI chairman from Attock jail

By Haider Sherazi & Shabbir Dar
September 25, 2023
PTI Chairman Imran Khan leaves after appearing in the Supreme Court in Islamabad on July 26, 2023. — AFP
PTI Chairman Imran Khan leaves after appearing in the Supreme Court in Islamabad on July 26, 2023. — AFP

Confusion shrouded Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's shifting from Attock prison to Adiala jail as his lawyers claimed that the former prime minister had been moved as per the court's orders, but the jail administration said the opposite. 

Today, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had directed the authorities to shift Khan from Attock jail to Adiala jail during the hearing of a plea related to amenities provided to the PTI chief in prison. 

Hours after the court's orders, the members of his legal team said that the directives had been complied with.

Naeem Panjhota, who is the spokesperson of Khan on legal affairs, claimed that the ousted premier — who was removed from power via a parliamentary vote in April last year — has been shifted to the prison in Adiala.

However, the Adiala jail administration refuted the claim, saying that Khan has not yet been shifted there.

Later, taking to X — formerly known as Twitter — Panjhuta said that he had been informed that Imran Khan had been shifted to Adiala jail but "it is beyond understanding that Attock jail [authorities] are also saying that they have PTI chairman."

Sharing the details of the facilities given to the ousted PM, Khan's lawyer Sher Afzal Marwat said that an attached bathroom and all other amenities a former prime minister is entitled to have been provided.

He said that Khan was shifted to the prison at 4pm.

Earlier today, the high court while hearing a case concerning the prison amenities granted to the PTI chief, directed authorities to shift the deposed prime minister to Adiala jail.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq remarked that Khan is an under-trial prisoner in the cipher case, which was registered in Islamabad.

Ordering to shift the PTI chairman, the IHC chief justice objected to keeping "an under-trial prisoner" in Attock jail instead of Adiala jail.

He said Khan had been imprisoned at the Attock jail as per the sentence awarded in the Toshakhana case, which was suspended.

"If tomorrow, you transfer [him] to Rahim Yar Khan, would the trial be held there?" he questioned, seeking a response regarding the matter from Additional Attorney General Munawar Iqbal Dogar.

During the hearing, Khan's lawyer Advocate Sher Afzal Marwat requested that his client be given the facility of an exercise machine.

Justice Farooq said it was mentioned that now the A and C classes have been abolished in the jail.

"Now there are general and better classes in the jail, and Imran Khan is entitled to the better class," said Barrister Salman Safdar, lawyer of the deposed prime minister.

"It is confirmed that the PTI chairman is entitled to the better class, as he is the former prime minister and an educated person," the chief justice observed.

Justice Farooq maintained that Khan should receive the facilities he is entitled to and that his rights should not be violated.

Ciphergate

The controversy first emerged on March 27, 2022, when Khan — just days before his ouster in April 2022 — brandished a letter, claiming that it was a cipher from a foreign nation, which mentioned that his government should be removed from power.

He did not reveal the contents of the letter nor mention the name of the nation that had sent it. But a few days later, he named the United States and said that Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu had sought his removal.

The cipher was about former Pakistan ambassador to the US Asad Majeed's meeting with Lu.

The former prime minister, claiming that he was reading contents from the cipher, said that "all will be forgiven for Pakistan if Imran Khan is removed from power".

Then on March 31, the National Security Committee (NSC) took up the matter and decided to issue a "strong demarche" to the country for its "blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan".

Later, after his removal, Khan's successor Shehbaz Sharif convened another meeting of the NSC, which came to the conclusion that it had found no evidence of a foreign conspiracy in the cipher.

The cipher case against the former premier became serious after his principal secretary Azam Khan stated before a magistrate as well as the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) that the former PM had used the US cipher for his "political gains" and to avert a vote of no-confidence against him.

The former bureaucrat, in his confession, said when he provided the ex-premier with the cipher, he was "euphoric" and termed the language a "US blunder". The former prime minister, according to Azam, then said that the cable could be used for "creating a narrative against establishment and opposition".

Azam said the US cipher was used in political gatherings by the PTI chairman, despite his advice to avoid such acts. He mentioned that the former prime minister also told him that the cipher could be used to divert the public's attention towards "foreign involvement" in the opposition's no-confidence motion.