Pakistan: (Jailed ex-PM) Imran deprived of visitors after govt imposes two-week ban on Adiala jail visitations


ISLAMABAD: The Punjab Home Department imposed a two-week ban on Tuesday on prisoner visitations and media coverage at Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail. The prison houses high-profile political figures including PTI founder and former premier Imran Khan.

Since the February 8 polls, the prison has been the centre of several meetings between the incarcerated former PTI chief and leaders belonging to the party as well as its allies, seeking the former premier’s consultations over the party’s course of political action.

In orders issued to the Punjab IG, the department maintained that the decision was taken in light of a ‘threat alert’ issued for the prison by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

The department’s Internal Security Wing reported that terrorists who have the support of anti-state groups wanted to target the prison to spread chaos in the country. Hence, it was important for the department to take necessary measures to avoid such incidents.

As per sources, the department has ordered the Special Branch, Intelligence Bureau, and Prisons Department to conduct a security survey of the prison on March 13 (tomorrow). It has also directed the installation of barbed wires around the boundary wall and the screening of the jail premises and nearby areas by the bomb disposal squad.

As per the Home Department’s directives, government contractors and staff employed at the jail will also undergo a security clearance by police and Rangers along with mock emergency drills.

The ban will be applied to all the inmates of the jail, including former premier Imran, former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and PTI President Parvez Elahi.

MWM files contempt plea

Earlier today, the Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM) filed a contempt plea at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the Adiala jail superintendent for denying the party chief and other members a meeting with the PTI founding chairman a day earlier. The plea was filed by the party’s chairman Allama Raja Nasir Abbas.

Talking to the media after filing the plea, Allama Nasir stated that the jail authorities did not allow him to meet Imran despite a court order issued in this regard on March 8. He added that the prison officers made him wait from 9 AM to 4 PM on March 11.

The MWM chief lamented how the situation in the country “was worse than a jungle”. “Even a jungle has more laws,” he stated.

PTI leaders turned away

Last month, several leaders of the PTI, including those elected in the February 8 general elections, were turned away by the Adiala jail as they reached there for a meeting with the party founder.

The leaders said they had a court order for a meeting with Imran to discuss the prevailing situation and unfolding political developments in the country. However, the jail administration declined to obey the court orders.

The jail authorities allowed only five PTI leaders to meet with Imran – Barrister Ali Zafar, Barrister Umair Niazi, Ali Bukhari, Shadab Jafari, and Ahmed Owais Advocate, while the others were denied permission for the meeting.

Those who were not allowed to meet Imran, included Acting PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Khan, Chief Organiser Omar Ayub, former speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, former Azad Kashmir prime minister Sardar Qayyum Niazi, besides other party leaders Atif Khan, Shahram Tarakai, Sher Afzal Marwat, and Seembia Tahir.

Qaiser said, “Major developments were taking place in the country. Therefore, it is necessary for the senior leadership of the party to consult the PTI founder. The people have given a big mandate to the PTI founder.”