In a significant development, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has issued an order directing the authorities to transfer Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan from Attock prison to Adiala jail. The decision, which was made during a hearing pertaining to the prison accommodations provided to the PTI leader, was grounded on the principle that trials of inmates facing charges in Islamabad should be conducted in the corresponding prison.
Chief Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC presided over the hearing of the PTI’s petition and raised a crucial question regarding Khan’s status as an under-trial prisoner in the cipher case, which originated in Islamabad. He inquired, “Why is an under-trial prisoner being held in Attock jail instead of Adiala jail?”
The chief justice went on to underscore that Khan had been detained at Attock jail in connection with the Toshakhana case, which had been suspended. He questioned whether the trial would be relocated to Rahim Yar Khan if Khan were to be transferred there, emphasizing the need for a response from Additional Attorney General Munawar Iqbal Dogar on this matter.
During the proceedings, Imran Khan’s lawyer, Advocate Sher Afzal Marwat, requested that his client be provided with an exercise machine.
Justice Farooq acknowledged that the A and C classes in the jail had been abolished, clarifying that there were now general and better classes in the prison. Barrister Salman Safdar, representing the former prime minister, stated, “It is confirmed that the PTI chairman is entitled to the better class, as he is the former prime minister and an educated person.”
Justice Farooq stressed that Khan should receive the amenities to which he is entitled, emphasizing that his rights should not be infringed upon.
In a parallel development, prior to the formal hearing concerning Khan’s bail plea in the cipher case, the IHC reserved its decision on the request for in-camera proceedings made by Special Prosecutor Zulfiqar Naqvi.
The court had previously limited the number of lawyers present in the courtroom due to the presence of more individuals related to the jail facilities case, which was scheduled for a later hearing. Advocate Shah Khawar, also present in the courtroom, pointed out that the trial was being conducted under the Official Secrets Act, with Khan represented by Barrister Salman Safdar.
Justice Farooq indicated that a decision would be made after reviewing the case record.
It should be noted that both the former prime minister and PTI’s Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi are in custody in the cipher case. Barrister Safdar acknowledged the trial’s classification under the Official Secrets Act, citing security concerns as the reason for conducting the trial within the jail premises. He added that the court could request individuals not directly involved to step out if deemed necessary.
Advocate Marwat highlighted the national interest in Khan’s bail request, to which Justice Farooq responded with a smile, noting that court hearings would now be live-streamed, allowing the world to witness them.