Imran Khan gestures to PTI supporters after appearing at the Islamabad High Court. File
Tariq Butt, Correspondent / Reuters
Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan on Monday was moved to a prison with better facilities near the national capital Islamabad after a court order, his lawyer said on Monday.
Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq on Monday ruled that Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan be shifted to Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail from the Attock district jail, where he is currently incarcerated in the cipher case.
His legal team and party had been pleading with several courts to issue orders for Imran Khan to be shifted to Adyala Jail in garrison city of Rawalpindi, which they argued was more appropriate for a former premier.
Imran has been detained in a low-key, colonial era prison in northwestern Attock district, that lacked facilities like attached bathroom and television and made it harder for family and friends to visit or send newspapers, books or food.
His lawyer Naeem Panjutha posted on X social media, formerly known as Twitter, that he had been shifted to the new prison. Imran Khan's close aide Zulfikar Bukhari, however, said he believed he was on his way to the new facility.
The PTI chief was sent to jail on Aug.5 after he was convicted in the Toshakhana case. The trial court had ordered the Islamabad police chief to arrest the PTI chairman, but he was instead arrested by the Lahore police.
The court had ordered the Adiala Jail superintendent to receive Imran Khan but he was taken to Attock Jail. Subsequently, the ex-premier had petitioned the IHC seeking transfer from Attock Jail to a better class facility in Adiala Jail.
On Aug.11, Justice Farooq had reserved the verdict on Imran’s transfer application, stating he would "issue an appropriate order” on it.
Although the IHC had suspended his sentence in the Toshakhana case on Aug.29, a special court had directed Attock Jail authorities to keep him in "judicial lockup” in connection with the cipher case.
The special court hearings in the cipher case against the PTI chief have been taking place at the Attock Jail, citing security reasons. Earlier this month, the IHC also reserved its verdict on Imran Khan’s plea challenging his trial at the Attock Jail, rather than in Islamabad.
Imran Khan’s lawyer Sher Afzal Marwat told reporters that they had "finally been granted justice from the IHC to the extent of transfer of Khan from the Attock Jail to Adiala Jail,” adding that it was a "little bit of justice” but he was glad about it.
He expressed his gratitude to Justice Farooq but also expressed his dissatisfaction at the court adjourning the hearing on a plea seeking an open hearing of Imran’s bail plea in the cipher case. He said the reasons for which the hearing had been adjourned were "not acknowledged in the law.” Marwat expressed hope that the hearing would be held within a few days.
At the outset of the hearing, Justice Farooq observed, "The status of the PTI chairman’s sentence has changed. All under-trial prisoners of Islamabad are detained at the Adiala Jail.” He then asked, "Why has the PTI chairman been kept at the Attock Jail till now? Why not at the Adiala Jail?”
The IHC chief recalled that according to the "original order” of the Toshakhana case, Imran was to be kept at the Adiala Jail.
The 70-year-old Imran Khan is being held in a so-called "C-class cell," sleeping on a mattress on the floor and with only enough room for a prayer mat. There is little access to daylight, and a fan but no air conditioner in the summer heat, lawyer Raoof Hasan said.
A Pakistani high court on Wednesday turned down an appeal by jailed former PM Imran Khan that his conviction on corruption charges be suspended, his lawyer said, suggesting it was unlikely he would be released on bail anytime soon.
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