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Shift Imran Khan to Adiala Jail: IHC directs authorities

PTI Chairman Imran Khan after appearing at the Lahore High Court on March 17, 2023. — AFP
  • PTI had challenged move to keep its chairman at Attock jail.
  • Khan is under-trial prisoner in cipher case, not Toshakhana, IHC says.
  • CJ maintains Khan should receive facilities he is entitled to.

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday directed authorities to shift Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to Adiala jail from Attock prison.

The order, issued during a hearing concerning the prison amenities granted to the PTI chief, was passed on the basis of a rule that trials of prisoners booked in Islamabad should be held in the relevant prison.

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

“Why is an under-trial prisoner kept in Attock jail instead of Adiala jail?” he asked.

Ordering to shift the PTI chairman, the chief justice added, Khan was kept in custody at the Attock jail 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.

Cipher case

Meanwhile, before a formal hearing pertaining to Khan’s post-arrest bail plea in the cipher case began, the IHC reserved its decision on the request for in-camera proceedings at the request of Special Prosecutor Zulfiqar Naqvi.

Earlier, the court had asked only two lawyers to remain in the courtroom, as it had more people in the space due to the jail facilities case which was to be held later.

The prosecutor Advocate Shah Khawar, who was also present in the courtroom, said the trial is being held under the Official Secrets Act. Khan was represented by Barrister Salman Safdar.

Justice Farooq remarked that the court would make a decision after reviewing the case record.

It should be noted that both the former premier and his party’s Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi are in custody in the cipher case.

“There is no denying that the trial is being conducted under the Official Secrets Act. Security concerns have been cited as the reason for the jail trial in this case,” Barrister Safdar said, adding that the court can ask unnecessary individuals to step out if it deems fit.

Shah Khawar said he would present arguments in-camera before the court once Khan’s lawyer has presented his.

Advocate Marwat mentioned that the entire nation has its eyes on this bail request, to which Justice Farooq responded with a smile, stating that now court hearings will be live-streamed, and the whole world will be able to witness them.

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