On eve of Imran’s SC appearance, PTI raises concerns about Adiala Jail security

PTI spokesperson Raoof Hassan raised concerns on Wednesday about the security conditions in Adiala Jail for party founder Imran Khan a day before his anticipated appearance in a Supreme Court hearing via video link.

The appearance will be Imran’s first public one since his arrest in August last year in a Toshakhana case.

Imran is expected to speak to the apex court tomorrow, as Justice Athar Minallah stated on Tuesday that the top court could not deny an audience to the former prime minister if he wishes to appear before it in person for a case about changes to the country’s accountability laws.

Consequently, a five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, had retired to discuss among themselves and then ordered the federal and Punjab governments to facilitate Imran’s appearance via video link from Adiala jail on Thursday.

Later, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar had explained to the media that historically, convicted individuals were not allowed to represent themselves in person before the court. However, he had said he would abide by the directive.

The PTI and Imran’s family have alleged that he is being clamped down on ahead of the hearing. Imran’s sister Aleema Khanum said that his guards were suddenly changed and meetings with him cancelled.

Elaborating on the alleged jail conditions “created in the [past] three to four days” while addressing a press conference today, Hasan also said that Imran’s two security guards were changed on Monday.

“A security clampdown has been imposed on him because of which no lawyers’ meetings nor weekly meetings with political leadership are being permitted.”

He added that the hearing in the Al Qadir Trust case inside Adiala Jail today was cancelled while hearings on the cipher and Toshakhana cases were also postponed.

“All of this has happened after the Supreme Court ordered his (Imran’s) appearance on video link,” the spokesperson claimed, condemning the alleged additional security measures in the strongest possible terms.

Hasan put the additional security down to the state and its officials being “fearful” of Imran.

“The people in charge of this country … fear his face. Neither his voice nor his face has been broadcast for the past nine months. Now that a possibility was being created for him to appear before the court via video link and present his statement and arguments, an excuse of security [was created] to sabotage Imran’s video appearance, which is their actual target.”

The PTI spokesperson said the matter needed to be seen in the “larger context” of other current issues such as the letter by six Islamabad High Court judges alleging interference of intelligence apparatus in judicial proceedings.