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Tuesday July 23, 2024

Who ordered sending Imran to Attock jail, asks IHC CJ

Imran’s plea seeks transfer from Attock jail to Adiala

By Awais Yousafzai & Ag App
August 10, 2023
Justice Aamir Farooq. Twitter
Justice Aamir Farooq. Twitter

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday asked the authorities concerned to apprise it who ordered to send former premier Imran Khan to the Attock Jail, instead of Adiala, as directed by the sessions court.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq instructed the assistant advocate general to find out the authority responsible for determining prisoner transfers and submit a report by Friday, August 11, during the hearing of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman’s plea seeking transfer from one prison to another following his arrest on August 5 in the Toshakhana case. The petition put forth by Khan sought his relocation from the Attock Jail to Adiala Jail and he requested for A-Class amenities, along with permission for a medical assessment from his personal physician, Dr Faisal Sultan.

Khan also appealed for the court’s authorisation to meet with his legal team, family and senior party members.

Chief Justice Aamer Farooq noted during the proceedings that due to the absence of a jail in Islamabad, detainees were accommodated in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail. However, he inquired about the method of sending a prisoner to jail.

According to the conviction orders issued by Judge Humayun Dilawar, the PTI chief was supposed to be sent to the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. However, the former prime minister was taken to Attock instead.

Khan’s lawyer, Advocate Sher Afzal Marwat, told the court that the government had the power to shift a prisoner to any jail in Punjab.

“Nawaz Sharif’s request for transfer to Kot Lakhpat Jail was approved,” Justice Farooq remarked.

The PTI chief’s counsel said that Khan could get an A-Class facility as per jail rules, but since District Jail Attock had not A-Class facility, he was being kept there and that too in solitary confinement.

“The PTI chairman has been kept in a cell instead of barracks,” Advocate Marwat said, adding that the former prime minister also complained of rainwater seeping into his cell.

Informing the court about the delay in scheduling the PTI chief’s meeting with his lawyers, Advocate Marwat said Khan was not allowed to meet his counsel despite a court order issued on Tuesday.

“Did they give any reason for not [scheduling] the meeting?” the IHC chief justice asked the counsel. “Meeting time is till 6pm, while the order was issued late,” the lawyer replied.

He complained that Khan’s other lawyer, Naeem Haider Panjotha, was grilled by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for “nine hours” on Tuesday under the guise of an investigation. He also told the court that Khawaja Haris has also been summoned by the FIA. Marwat termed the detentions “illegal”.

The chief justice, after hearing the counsel’s complaints, remarked that no one should be harassed in the name of investigation. He also said that a prisoner should be given the rights specified in the law.

“Everyone has rights. An appointment with a lawyer cannot be refused,” Justice Farooq remarked.

Addressing Khan’s lawyer, the chief justice insisted that it doesn’t become a political issue and that the premises should not be crowded. “One by one, two or three lawyers should go together,” he said.

While Marwat requested the court to conduct a hearing of the case on Thursday (today), the IHC top judge adjourned it till August 11, citing his absence due to ill health.

In another case, the IHC served notices on the attorney general for Pakistan (AGP) and other respondents in an appeal of the PTI chairman against his conviction in the Toshakhana criminal case.

The court also sought the case record from the trial court and said that it would first hear the stance of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against the appeal.

A two-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Aamer Farooq comprising Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, heard the case wherein the defence lawyers Khawaja Haris, Sardar Latif Khosa, Barrister Gohar Ali Khan and Babar Awan appeared before the court.

At the outset of the hearing, Sardar Latif Khosa said that the trial court had awarded the maximum sentence to the former prime minister as per the charges in the case. The trial court had announced the verdict despite the appeal of the defence side against abolishing the right of defence pending with the IHC, he said. The sessions court should have waited for the verdict of the high court.

The lawyer alleged that the trial court had announced the verdict in haste and awarded three-year jail term along Rs100,000 fine to the accused. He prayed the court to suspend the sentence of his client, as it was considered a short-term sentence.

The chief justice refused to suspend the sentence immediately and remarked that first, the bench would hear the stance of ECP and would then decide the matter.

Khosa prayed to the court to fix the case on Thursday (today) again for further hearing. Khawaja Haris argued that the IHC had ordered the trial court to decide the matter pertaining to maintainability of the case on a daily basis, but the trial court announced its verdict on the third day without hearing the defence counsel. He said that he had reached the trial court before the announcement of the verdict, but it refused to hear him.

The chief justice remarked that the court had served notices in the appeal and then would also view these points. Justice Farooq remarked that hearing on the appeal was not possible on Thursday as he would be on leave. He observed that the case would not be prolonged till after the vacation as the appeal about the sentences and bails was being fixed early. After this, the court adjourned further hearing of the case.