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Monday May 27, 2024

SHC tells federal govt to take steps to protect Imran’s life in Adiala jail

By Jamal Khurshid
April 10, 2024
In this image, security personnel escort former prime minister Imran Khan. — AFP/File
In this image, security personnel escort former prime minister Imran Khan. — AFP/File 

The Sindh High Court has directed the federal government and other relevant authorities to take all necessary steps to secure the lives of prisoners who are currently confined in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail, including former prime minister Imran Khan, whose life is reportedly under serious threat.

The direction came on a petition seeking protection of life and security of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf founder Imran Khan.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi took exception to the failure of the federal government to file comments on the petition.

A federal law officer sought further time to call comments from the ministry of interior.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that the federal government was directed to submit the comments; however, the respondents neither filed their comments nor were any steps taken to secure Imran Khan’s life and eliminate any possible threat to a national leader and ex-prime minister of Pakistan.

The court observed in its order that keeping in view the seriousness of the matter in hand and threat to the life of a citizen of Pakistan, that is Imran Khan Niazi, who is presently confined in Central Prison Rawalpindi, such a response by the official respondent was not appreciated as it reflected upon their casual attitude towards court matters on the one hand and to shelve their responsibility to protect the life of the ex-prime minister, on the other.

The court observed that in case of any untoward incident having any bearing on the life or wellbeing of any of the prisoners confined in Adiala prison, including that of Imran Khan, the responsibility will be of the jail administration as well as of the relevant ministry and departments of both provincial and federal governments.

It directed the federal government to file comments positively by April 18 and observed that no further adjournment would be granted as the matter pertained to the life and liberty of a citizen of Pakistan, who is confined in the prison and the ex-prime minister of Pakistan.

The court observed that it is expected that the federal government and all authorities concerned to take all necessary steps to secure the lives of the prisoners who were currently confined in thye Adiala jail.

Petitioner Abdul Wahab Baloch, who is the PTI’s provincial lawyers wing president, submitted that the PTI founder was implicated in several false cases and now he was incarcerated in the Adiala prison.

He said jail authorities had banned meetings of Khan due to various types of security threats to the prison as some anti-state terrorist groups supported by the enemies of Pakistan had planned to conduct targeted attacks.

He submitted that the prevailing environment raised serious concern over the safety and security of the PTI founder, who was also a former prime minister.

He said former prime ministers Liaquat Ali Khan and Benazir Bhutto were assassinated in the past and it was therefore necessary that the PTI founder be provided foolproof security in the Adiala jail. The court was requested to direct the interior ministry to ensure safety and security of the PTI founder and take all measures, including a surveillance mechanism, to neutralise the security threat to him.