ISLAMABAD, April 21: Former president Pervez Musharraf spent the first day in his posh farmhouse turned sub-jail alone.
According to the security present at the gate, the only visitor the inmate was allowed was a medical officer from the Adiala Jail for a routine check-up on Sunday evening.
It was surprisingly a quiet day especially after the hype following General Musharraf’s escaped from the court four days back.
Roughly a dozen cameramen had installed their cameras across the road from the gate number 3 of the sub-jail while they sat in shade and played cricket on the road near the gate of the farmhouse, waiting for any kind of movement/action since Saturday night. They would often drop everything and rush to turn on their cameras at the sound of the bolt of the steal gate opening not missing a scene that could possibly make news. And for some, capturing the labourers walking out the gate was also action.
Some had other worries when the generators installed in the digital satellite news gathering (DSNG) vans ran out of petrol. And the only still photographer from a foreign publication also returned disappointed.
“Where are all the party workers and Pervez Musharraf’s supporters that I thought would be agitating or at least holding some kind of protest outside his farmhouse,” said the photographer who went back after taking a few shots of the security personnel manning the two pickets at the two ends of the street leading up to the farmhouse.
The neighbourhood around the farmhouse was a strictly quiet place. “People mind their own business here. The calm had been disturbed two or three days ago but today (Sunday) has been somewhat normal,” said Waqas Ahmad, a security guard of the Chak Shahzad farmhouses.
Less than half a dozen visitors, including his lawyers Ibrahim Satti and Qamar Afzal, and General Musharraf’s party information secretary Aasia Ishaq knocked the gate to see the prisoner but were turned away by the security personnel.
And the only other visitor who wanted to meet General Musharraf was his former comrade Col Mansoor Ahmed who was the battalion commander during the Kargil war.
“If this was Adiala Jail, one could have slipped Rs200 to the guard to be allowed inside. But here, they are not even passing on my message,” said Col Mansoor, who wanted to meet General Musharraf to boost his morale.But Pervez Musharraf seemed to be doing well according to the senior medical officer Adiala Jail, Dr Asif Butt. “He’s in good health. He is eating well. His blood pressure is fine and his morale and confidence is that of a commando,” said Dr Butt during his talk with the media where he explained how he spent roughly 15 minutes with General Musharraf for a regular check-up.
In the evening, Aasia Ishaq, the secretary general of the All Pakistan Muslim League, walked up to the gate of the farmhouse with the same kind of confidence that she would be let in. Her request was also politely rejected by additional superintendent Adiala Jail Chaudhry Shabrez who also urged the TV reporters to step away from the driveway before they became a security hazard.
“We are trying to do our job. And you are too close to the premises,” Shabrez told the reporters.
Aasia Ishaq did not take kindly to the rejection when the jail official said the general could not see anyone.
She threatened of a sit-in in front of the gate and gave a short statement to the TV channels against the ‘discriminatory’ treatment with Pervez Musharraf. The affiliation lasted roughly an hour and then she too left.
But Adiala Jail superintendent Malik Mushtaq Awan, who came to inspect the arrangements, explained how there were no restrictions for friends and family to meeting Pervez Musharraf as long as it was a working day and had permission from the authorities concerned.
He shrugged off questions from TV reporters if General Musharraf was enjoying the comforts of this luxury farmhouse.
“He is in a jail not staying in a guesthouse,” said who had given orders earlier to increase the number of personnel at the pickets.
The officials did not confirm the rumours that the Pervez Musharraf had been confined to two rooms and if his wife Sehba Pervez was also present at the farmhouse.