ISLAMABAD: The Adiala Jail administration has opposed moving Bushra Bibi, the wife of PTI founder Imran Khan, back to the prison, claiming that overcrowding posed security threats for the former first lady.

Last month, Ms Bibi and her husband were convicted in a case of illegal sale of state gifts and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.

She has since been kept at her husband’s Bani Gala residence — which was declared a sub-jail — instead of Adiala prison, where Mr Khan is imprisoned.

On Thursday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) resumed the hearing of Ms Bibi’s petition to transfer her back to the prison.

While appearing before the court, the Adiala Jail assistant superintendent, Waqiuz Zaman, said the overcrowded jail poses a security risk to the former first lady.

Court seeks reply from Islamabad chief commissioner; adjourns hearing for two weeks

He said the prison has over 250 female inmates, and due to the paucity of space, the petitioner can not be kept at the prison.

Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb then sought a reply from the Islamabad chief commissioner and adjourned the hearing for two weeks.

The shifting of Ms Bibi to her Banigala residence has been under discussion for weeks as she and her husband denied submitting any application to declare the residence as a sub-jail.

During an interaction with media inside the prison, Mr Khan said he had asked her wife to return to Adiala Jail.

Subsequently, she filed a petition before the IHC, seeking a transfer to the prison.

Ms Bibi urged the court to set aside the chief commissioner’s notification to declare Banigala residence a sub-jail.

While citing the chief commissioner, Adiala Jail superintendent, Prisons inspector general and the state as respondents, the petition stated that following her conviction on Jan 31, Ms Bibi surrendered before jail authorities at 10am.

The Adiala Jail deputy superintendent informed her that she had to be shifted to another prison to serve the sentence.

But she was brought to her residence.

Upon inquiry, the petitioner was informed by the officials that her residence was declared as sub-jail through a notification issued on the same day, said the petition.

It added that there was no such request whatsoever on behalf of the petitioner to designate her residence as sub-jail, and it was done by the chief commissioner exercising his discretion.

The former first lady stated that she doesn’t feel secure in the sub-jail where she has been confined in the presence of unidentified persons.

The petition pointed out Ms Bibi is being prosecuted in the Al-Qadir Trust case, the proceedings of which take place in the Adiala Jail.

The movement from Banigala to Adiala Jail and vice versa is a “hectic exercise” and a burden on both authorities and the petitioner; therefore, detaining her at the residence is futile, said the application.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2024

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