ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has directed the interior secretary to decide an application seeking a court decree to declare the residence of former chief minister of Punjab Chaudhry Parvez Elahi as a sub-jail and his subsequent shifting to the sub-jail.

Justice Arbab Mohammad Tahir was hearing a petition filed by Mr Elahi’s spouse, who contended that he could be detained in his residence for health reasons. A medical board constituted to ascertain his health condition advised that the former CM be kept in Rawalpindi prison, and that he should not travel.

In the letters addressed to the interior secretary and Punjab’s additional chief secretary for the home department, Mr Elahi’s spouse wrote “in view of his peculiar health condition, injuries, and on humanitarian grounds, my husband, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, be taken out of jail premises and put under house arrest at Islamabad or Lahore immediately, given his health condition and age”.

The court noted that Mr Elahi is not a convict, and the right to life of an under-trial prisoner, guaranteed by the Constitution, supersedes the obligation of the state to try him for an alleged offence.

As per a report of the medical board, Mr Elahi is currently stable. The Rawalpindi jail superintendent has also forwarded a report to a court in Lahore regarding Mr Elahi’s health condition.

The petitioner submitted two separate applications to the interior secretary, and Punjab’s additional chief secretary for home, wherein a request for placing Mr Elahi under house arrest at Islamabad or Lahore has been made. Obviously, such a request by the petitioner shall be dealt with by the competent forums, keeping in view the principles and law.

The court directed the interior secretary to consider the application of the petitioner and pass appropriate orders if the matter falls within his competence; otherwise, he shall refer the matter to the appropriate forum within two days.

The order stated: “The competent forum shall, after considering the application, pass appropriate orders in accordance with law” within 15 days.

Moreover, the Rawalpindi jail superintendent has been directed to facilitate the inmate’s periodical medical check-ups or follow-up check-ups from PIMS Hospital.

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2024

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