POLICEMEN stand guard at a watchtower of the Attock prison where PTI Chairman Imran Khan is being held, on Sunday.—AFP
POLICEMEN stand guard at a watchtower of the Attock prison where PTI Chairman Imran Khan is being held, on Sunday.—AFP

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan, who is incarcerated in Attock Jail in a graft case, was given B-Class facilities by the Punjab prisons department on Sunday, as his lawyers and the party claimed they were not allowed by the jail administration to meet the PTI chairman.

According to an insider, the prison authorities were kept ‘absolutely in the dark’ about the plan to shift Imran Khan to Attock Jail. They were expecting that the former premier would be taken to Adiala Jail but they came to know about the change of plan when the PTI chairman was brought outside the Attock Jail, he added.

Meanwhile, PTI chairman’s aide on legal affairs Naeem Haider Panjotha said the prison had been turned into a ‘no-go’ area for his lawyers or local people.

The legal team said they wanted to get in touch with Imran Khan to provide him with clothes, food, other necessary items and also get his signatures. The authorities did not allow meeting with the PTI chairman and asked the lawyers to come back on Monday to get power of attorney.

Aide claims prison ‘no-go area’ for legal team; minister says PTI chief has right to appeal; official details facilities provided to ex-PM

“We told them that we need to get the power of attorney as well as other documents signed by Mr Khan in order to move various applications and challenge different [court] orders,” one of the lawyers said.

PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan told Dawn the legal team was not allowed to meet Imran Khan as the jail administration “straight away refused to allow a meeting”.

PTI demands release

A meeting of the PTI core committee chaired by PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi demanded Mr Khan’s immediate release, saying there were “threats” to his life.

The meeting expressed concerns about keeping Mr Khan in Attock instead of Adiala Jail and not allowing his legal team to meet him. The committee also questioned why the Punjab police had arrested Mr Khan instead of the Islamabad police.

They also questioned whether Mr Khan’s medical examination was conducted as per legal requirements and if it was then why the reports were not being shared with the party and lawyers.

In a video statement, Mr Qureshi claimed that the Attock Jail lacked B-Class facilities. This claim, however, was denied by the prison department.

Mr Qureshi claimed that the former premier was being kept in a ‘9x11 feet cell’. He said PTI would try “its best to file an application” for the release of Imran Khan on Monday (today).

‘Right to appeal’

Federal Minister for Law Azam Nazir Tarar stated that Mr Khan still “possesses the right to appeal the verdict”, and the punishment awarded to him in the Toshakhana reference was in accordance with law, state-run APP added.

Speaking in the Senate, the minister said the PTI chairman had been provided an opportunity to prove his innocence but he attended only three hearings despite the issuance of 40 court summons.

B-Class Facilities

A senior prison official said Mr Khan was allowed to enjoy all those facilities provided under the Pakistan Prisons Rules 1978 to ‘a convicted prisoner’.

Under the rules, he said, the prisoners have been classified into superior, ordinary, and political class.

Under the B-Class, the PTI chairman is entitled to books, newspapers of choice, a table, a chair, a 21-inch television, a mattress, clothing and jail food, in addition to bathroom facility in the barrack he has been kept in, the official said. He would not be allowed to get food from outside.

Similarly, he has been allowed to get a lamp in case of suspension of electricity supply, besides sanitary and washing facilities.

Mr Khan was in good health when he was brought to the jail on Saturday, he said, adding that the ex-PM can meet his family and lawyer once a week. To get additional but limited facilities, he would have to get permission from the jail superintendent. The official denied reports about unrest outside the Attock Jail by PTI supporters to protest the arrest of their leader.

Amjad Iqbal in Taxila also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2023

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