RAWALPINDI: Despite directives issued by Prime Minister Imran Khan, air-conditioners were not removed from the cells of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Adiala and Kot Lakhpat jails on the recommendation of a medical board till his release.

According to sources, in August 2018 Mr Sharif had been housed in a 10x12 feet room at Adiala jail with the facilities of a television, newspapers, a cook and a fridge.

The air-conditioner was provided to Mr Sharif after the medical board of Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology suggested that the patient needed a cool environment due to his health condition otherwise his kidneys could be badly affected.

The sources said the reports were sent to the jail authorities and subsequently to the home department.

Later, the medical report was sent to the then caretaker chief minister and the facility of AC was arranged.

In Aug 2019, the opposition leader in the National Assembly claimed that attempts were being made to put the life of Mr Sharif in danger by removing the air conditioner from his cell in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail where he had been shifted from Rawalpindi.

The sources said though the former prime minister had been provided the facility of AC, a television, newspapers and a fridge he had asked the jail authorities for providing him the television cable facility to watch channels other than PTV.

But his request was turned down by the jail authorities.

The sources said when Mr Sharif was shifted to Kot Lakhpat jail his heath condition was reviewed by a medical board who also recommended providing him cool conditions.

Therefore, the jail authorities had no other option but to follow the directives.

The sources said after Mr Sharif was released on bail on medical grounds, the air conditioner affixed in his cell was removed and shifted to his house as it was not the property of the jail.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced during his visit to the US that he would have the air-conditioner and TV removed from Mr Sharif’s cell on his return to country.

But medical reports prevented the provincial authorities from removing the air conditioner.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2019