Plea seeking A-Class jail facilities for Imran filed in IHC

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Plea seeking A-Class jail facilities for Imran filed in IHC
Islamabad: Former prime minister Imran Khan’s lawyer, Naeem Haider Panjotha, approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday seeking A-Class jail facilities for the PTI chief, who is currently incarcerated in Attock Jail in a graft case.

On Aug 5, an Islamabad trial court had declared Imran guilty of “corrupt practices” in a case pertaining to concealing details of state gifts and sentenced him to three years in prison. Soon after the verdict, he was arrested by the Punjab police from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore.

The ex-premier was given B-Class facilities by the Punjab prisons department. However, his lawyers and the party claimed on Sunday they were not allowed by the jail administration to meet the PTI chairman.

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

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

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

Meanwhile, PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi had claimed that the Attock Jail lacked B-Class facilities. This claim, however, was denied by the prison department.

On Monday, Panjotha, spokesman to Imran on legal affairs, reached the IHC where he filed a petition, which urged the court to declare Imran’s detention in Attock Jail “illegal” and for the ex-premier to be shifted to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.

The petition named the state, Islamabad Chief Commissioner Noorul Amin Mengal, and the superintendents of Adiala Jail and Attock Jail the respondents in the case.

The petition further requested for “better class/A-Class” jail facilities to be provided to the PTI chief under Rule 243 (classifying authority) of the Pakistan Prison Rules (PPR) read with Rule 248 (classification of under-trial prisoners) of the same.

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Panjotha also requested that Imran be allowed to regularly meet with his legal team, family members, personal doctor Dr Faisal Sultan and political aides — the lists for which were also submitted to the court.

It stated that “it is yet to be ascertained” under which law the PTI chief had been detained at Attock Jail when the arrest warrant issued by the trial court intended for him to be kept at Adiala Jail.

The plea said that the former premier had been “confined in a 9×11 feet cell with an annexed dirty bathroom”. It further said that the room was a “dirty cell which has traditionally been reserved for terrorists”.

It said that the “respondents have been treating [Imran] like a criminal and have lodged him in a small and squeezed barrack” due to “malafide reasons and under the pressure of the political regime”.

Citing the PPR, the plea argued that Imran was “entitled to A-Class facilities” considering his “social and political status, his education and his being accustomed to a better living style”.

Noting that Imran had been denied access to his legal team, doctor, family members and political aides, the petition said that Dr Sultan’s access to Imran was required as he was aware of the PTI chief’s “entire medical history”, including the injuries caused by a fall in 2013 and last year’s Wazirabad attack.

According to the PPR, convicted prisoners are classified into superior class, ordinary class, and political class. Superior class includes A and B-Class prisoners. Ordinary class comprises prisoners other than superior class.

There are only two classes of under-trial prisoners; better class and ordinary class. Better class includes those under-trial prisoners who by social status, education or habit of life have been accustomed to a superior mode of living and will correspond to A and B-Class of convicted prisoners. Ordinary class will include all others and will correspond to C-Class.

Superior class prisoners are entitled to books and newspapers, a 21-inch television, a table and a chair, a mattress, personal bedding and clothing and food. The prisoners have to pay for all this themselves. The government is only obligated to provide them security in a high-security ward where they will be kept away from other prisoners.

Rooms are supplied with a cot, one chair, one teapot, one lantern if there is no electric light, and necessary washing and sanitary appliances. A-Class prisoners may supplement the furniture by other articles within reasonable limit at their own cost, at the discretion of the superintendent.

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