Adiala Jail administration on Thursday cancelled a meeting between incarcerated former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, and son-in-law retired Capt Muhammad Safdar, and their legal team.
The legal team was trying to meet the Sharif family detained at Adiala Jail following their conviction in the Avenfield properties reference.
On Wednesday, lead defence counsel Khawaja Haris told the accountability judge that jail authorities were not giving him access to his client, Nawaz Sharif.
After court proceedings, as per the legal team of Sharif family, the jail superintendent called Haris and permitted the legal team to meet with its clients. The jail authorities then, with the consent of the lawyers, fixed their meeting for 11am on Thursday.
The legal team moved from Serena Hotel at 9am and, as they reached Adiala Jail at 11am, were informed by the jail superintendent that the meeting had been cancelled. Subsequently, they returned without meeting their clients.
Speaking to Dawn, Haris said that the "legal team comprising Amjad Pervaiz, Barrister Saad Hashmi, and Zafir Khan had been requesting jail authorities since the day before to allow us to meet our clients in jail so that we can confer with them regarding their future strategy."
"We requested the jail authorities to allow us to meet yesterday (Wednesday) but we were not allowed [to meet them]," he said, adding, "Eventually we were asked to come today at 11am to meet Mian Sahib etc. at Adiala Jail. While we were on our way and had almost reached, we received a call from the jail superintendent and were asked not to come today as our meeting had been unilaterally cancelled."
According to Haris, an Adiala Jail assistant superintendent had explained that the lawyers' meeting had been cancelled since Thursday is for visiting family members and others.
He claimed that the jail administration had asked them to suggest a date for another meeting, but were not giving them any assurance that the same would not happen with their next meeting. He added that it was not possible for professional lawyers to work freely and independently if the behaviour of jail authorities continued to be humiliating.
Jail officials did not attend repeated telephone calls when contacted by Dawn for a comment on the matter.
PBC delegation meets Sharifs
Meanwhile, a delegation of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) today met Sharif, Maryam and Safdar as 'observers' to assess the conditions they are living in.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, PBC vice chairman Kamran Murtaza said Sharif and his daughter Maryam are both being kept in isolation, away from other prisoners. There is a distance of half a kilometre between Sharif and Maryam's barracks, he added.
He quoted Sharif as saying that he was made to sleep on the floor on a thin mattress on his first night in jail.
"According to him, the room was stinking and the washroom was in a bad state," Murtaza said. Maryam and Sharif met today (Thursday) for the first time after their last meeting on Sunday, he added.
He said a cook prepares the food for the Sharifs from the ration that is sent from their home. However, he said the Sharifs complained that they are not asked about their food requirements in advance and the food ingredients "start to stink" by the time they are handed over to them.
Murtaza said the council's objective is to see justice being meted out to everyone and that "the justice should be seen".
Murtaza said they will contact the interior ministry through the attorney general, and the jailer, to have the issues faced by the Sharifs in the jail resolved.
Besides Murtaza, the delegation comprised former presidents of the Supreme Court Bar Association Abdul Lateef Afridi and Muhammad Yasin Azad, PBC member Azam Nazeer Tarar and Sindh High Court Bar Association ex-president Khalid Javed.