Saturday July 13, 2024

Imran shifted to Adiala jail on court orders

Police contingents comprising 15 vehicles, 2 armoured vans, ambulance reached Attock Jail at about 6:15pm

By Awais Yousufzai & News Desk & Shakeel Anjum
September 27, 2023
Policemen escort Former prime minister and Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan to the high court in Islamabad for his hearing. — AFP/File
Policemen escort Former prime minister and Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan to the high court in Islamabad for his hearing. — AFP/File

RAWALPINDI/ ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan was shifted to the Adiala Jail and given the same cell where former prime minister Khaqan Abbasi had remained confined, the jail sources disclosed.

Earlier, the former prime minister was shifted from Attock Jail to Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, by large contingents of Islb-Rwp police amidst a warning of terrorist attack during his transfer by the intelligence agencies.

Police contingents comprising 15 vehicles, two armoured vans and an ambulance reached the Attock Jail at about 6:15 pm.

The Anti-Terrorist Squad, Counter Terrorism Department, Bomb Disposal Squad and others were integrated with the security fleet.

Heavily-equipped Attock police with paramilitary forces remained deployed around the Attock Jail during the entire transfer process. Imran travelled to the new destination in an armoured car, sources said. The fleet left the Attock Jail for Adiala Jail at about 6:30 pm and used the Motorway-Chakri Interchange-Chauntra to arrive at the Adiala Jail at about 9:00 pm.

Once inside the new prison, the PTI chairman was detained in Barrack No 4, where former Khaqan Abbasi remained confined in Imran Khan’s tenure for over six months, the jail sources disclosed. Ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif was also kept in the same barrack.

The sources said the facilities and comforts demanded by the PTI leadership have not yet been given. Earlier in the day, the former first lady, Bushra Bibi, met her husband in Attock Jail well before his departure to Adiala Jail. She remained with Imran Khan for about an hour and left for Islamabad with the legal team.

Meanwhile, Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain conducted the cipher case hearing at the Attock Jail and extended the remand of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi till October 10. The two leaders are likely to remain imprisoned for another 14 days in this case.

PTI lawyers Barrister Salman Safdar, Latif Khosa, Umer Niazi and Naeem Panjutha appeared before the court where the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) team was also present.

On the other hand, Qureshi was brought to the Federal Judicial Complex handcuffed by the FIA team where the court staff marked his attendance. Later, the court extended his judicial remand till October 10.

Last month, the FIA booked the PTI chief and the party’s vice chairman under the Official Secrets Act for allegedly misplacing and misusing classified documents for vested political interests.

Subsequently, both leaders were arrested in connection with the investigation into the case and a special court was established under the Official Secrets Act to try the accused.

Speaking to the media, Imran’s lawyer Latif Khosa said had the FIA submitted the challan in the court, the PTI chief would have been granted bail today.

Speaking about the arrest of PTI leaders despite being granted bail by courts, the PTI chief’s counsel said court orders are being violated by the authorities. “Pervaiz Elahi has been granted bail many times, but he is still under arrest,” he added.

Meanwhile, Qureshi also briefly interacted with journalists on the occasion. When asked what would happen if the PTI was not allowed to contest elections, the PTI leader said such polls would be meaningless and worthless.

“The importance of the polls would end without PTI participating in it,” Qureshi said. He insisted on the need for transparent elections in the country as the “only solution” to the present issues. “The country will suffer an irreparable loss if transparent elections are not held,” he said.

The Ciphergate controversy first emerged on March 27, 2022, when Khan — less than a month before his ouster in April 2022 — brandished a letter, claiming that it was a diplomatic cable from a foreign nation, which mentioned that his government should be removed. Later, Imran maintained that he had lost the document. In a related development, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled that the next hearing of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s bail plea in the cipher case will take place in an open court.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq issued a two-page written order in response to the prosecution’s request for in-camera proceedings. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had initially sought closed-door hearings, citing the presence of “privileged” and “sensitive” documents and information. The court has, consequently, instructed the FIA prosecutors to submit a separate petition for in-camera proceedings during the upcoming hearing.

The order further said that the FIA’s special prosecutor had contended that when the bail application before the trial court was argued, the public was isolated. The official conceded that the petitioner argued his case in open court. However, the order mentioned that the PTI counsel said he had no objection if unnecessary people were barred from the courtroom. The FIA prosecutors, in their request, also mentioned that the hearing of the case in the special trial court was also held in-camera and unauthorised people were asked to leave the courtroom.

The court mentioned that the prosecution may move an appropriate application if it is interested in the public’s exclusion from the proceedings.

In a separate hearing, the IHC declared null and void the authorities’ notification to keep Imran Khan in Attock Jail. In a written order, IHC Chief Justice Aamir Farooq approved the request to transfer Khan to Adiala Jail. The trial court had directed keeping the PTI chief in Adiala Jail, but due to security concerns, he was transferred to the Attock Jail to complete his sentence on the recommendation of the Inspector General of Prisons. Despite the suspension of his sentence in the Toshakhana case by the IHC on August 28, the former prime minister remains incarcerated due to his arrest in the cipher case.

Opposing the transfer, the additional advocate general of Punjab stated that shifting Khan to Adiala Jail poses a security risk. Under-trial prisoners of all cases registered in the federal capital are kept in the Adiala Jail, while only convicted prisoners can be shifted to any jail in Punjab.

The court said that Khan, as a former prime minister, is entitled to better class facilities in jail. In its written order, the court stated that the PTI chairman’s lawyer had requested the provision of gym equipment to his client in jail; however, the court said it cannot issue such instructions because it is not clear whether such facilities are allowed or not. The superintendent of jail, the court said, is the authorised authority in this regard, and appropriate requests should be filed with them.