• Imran Khan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s remand in cipher case extended until October 10
• IHC rejects FIA plea seeking in-camera proceedings
• Lawyer says ex-PM was averse to move to Rawalpindi prison because of inordinate delay in decision
TAXILA / ISLAMABAD: Hours after a special court extended his judicial remand till Oct 10, former prime minister Imran Khan who is imprisoned for his alleged involvement in the cipher case under the Official Secrets Act, was moved to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi from Attock Jail by a large contingent of Islamabad police, amid strict security on Tuesday.
The decision to move the PTI chairman from Attock to Rawalpindi came a day after the Islamabad High Court had directed the police to transfer Imran Khan to Adiala Jail, in response to a petition he had moved earlier.
In the written order on shifting Mr Khan to Adiala Jail, IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq said the petitioner should be granted better class facilities as per his entitlement as provided in Rule 250, read with Rule 261 of the Pakistan Prison Rules, 1978.
The court noted that Mr Khan is an ex-prime minister and, hence is entitled to better class facilities in jail than have been afforded to him, as per a notification dated August 11 issued by the Punjab Home Department. The court order also stated that the PTI chairman may request the superintendent jail for gym equipment.
Mr Khan had been imprisoned in Attock Jail, situated approximately 90 kilometres west of the federal capital, on August 5 following his conviction in the Toshakhana case. After that sentence was suspended, however, he was detained in the cipher case.
The police brought at least 18 automobiles, including two bullet-proof vehicles and an ambulance, to Attock Jail to move Mr Khan to Rawalpindi on Tuesday evening. The convoy reached the jail at 9:30pm via Peshawar Road amid heavy deployment of police on at least two routes leading to the prison. A contingent of Rangers and police was also positioned outside the jail.
According to jail officials, the PTI chief would be accorded a superior class in accordance with the privileges befitting a former prime minister.
Special court proceedings
Separately, during the proceedings of a special court seized with the cipher case, Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain extended the judicial remand of the PTI chief till Oct 10.
During the hearing conducted in jail, Mr Khan said he did not want to be moved to Adiala since he had adjusted in Attock Jail. The ex-PM informed the judge that he would ask his lawyers to withdraw the plea seeking his transfer to Adiala.
Following the hearing, the PTI chief’s counsel, Latif Khosa, said that the PTI chairman did not want to be moved to Adiala Jail because of the inordinate delay in the case proceedings.
The lawyer said as per the ex-PM, he had applied for the transfer to another facility two months ago but he was not aware that the court would take so long to decide on his plea.
After the hearing, Bushra Bibi also met her incarcerated husband. The meeting between the couple lasted for an hour.
Separately, PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s remand was also extended till Oct 10 in the cipher case.
No to in-camera proceedings
Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court rejected a petition filed by the FIA seeking an in-camera hearing of the post-arrest bail petition of the PTI chairman in the cipher case.
During the hearing of the petition, the FIA special prosecutor submitted that proceedings of the bail application be held in-camera due to the sensitive nature of the case.
The counsel for Mr Khan submitted that he has no objection, if unnecessary people are excluded. The court noted that Section 14 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923 permits the exclusion of the public from the proceedings; however, a reading of the section shows that if such is to be undertaken, the prosecution has to make an application.
In case the prosecution is interested that the public be excluded from the proceedings of the instant case, it may move an appropriate application in this regard. The court, however, allowed the prosecution to move the application for in-camera proceedings as and when required.
Mohammad Asghar in Rawalpindi also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2023