KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday directed the authorities to ensure security of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf founder Imran Khan and all other prisoners in accordance with law.

A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi disposed of the petition seeking safety and security of the PTI founder at the Adiala Jail.

A federal law officer filed a reply on behalf of the interior secretary.

The ministry of interior in its comments stated that the matter pertaining to imposing a ban on meetings of PTI leaders with Mr Khan at the Adiala Jail was related to the Punjab government.

The interior ministry claimed that as per credible sources, hostile intelligence agencies and terrorist outfits had been planning to exploit heightened political polarisation in the country to their advantage.

The tentacles of these elements had been mobilised and asked to target premises/personalities in Rawalpindi while it had also been learnt that the terrorists had identified Adiala Jail, key military installations and police lines in Rawalpindi as primary targets, it added.

In view of the sensitivity of the matter, the ministry maintained that directions had been issued to respective provincial authorities for making foolproof security arrangements for the likely targets to avert the possibility of any untoward incident.

Every citizen had right to safety and security as enshrined in the Constitution and security arraignments were being made by the respective provincial government in accordance with the threat level, it concluded.

After taking the comments on record, the bench directed the authorities concerned to provide security to the PTI founder and other prisoners in accordance with law.

It also said that the petitioner was at liberty to approach the relevant forum in case of further grievances.

At the last hearing, the SHC had also directed all the authorities concerned to take necessary steps to secure the lives of prisoners, including former prime minister confined at the Adiala Jail.

Petitioner Abdul Wahab Baloch had submitted that he was the president of Insaf Lawyers Forum Sindh, the legal wing of PTI, and added that the party’s founder had been implicated in politically motivated cases and currently incarcerated at Central Prison Rawalpindi (Adiala Jail).

Citing the federation through the ministry of interior as respondent, he contended that a ban had been imposed by the jail authorities on meetings with the ex-PM on the pretext that he had serious life threats and some terrorists had been arrested around/near the detention facility with explosive material.

The petitioner also argued that according to the Constitution, the federation was responsible for ensuring the safety and security of all individuals/citizens of Pakistan, including the detained founder of the PTI and asked the SHC to issue directive to the respondents to ensure safety and security of Mr Khan at the detention facility.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2024

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