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IHC Requests Adiala Jail Superintendent’s Input on Legality of Online Prisoner Meetings Amid Imran Khan’s Incarceration

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has sought a response from Adiala Jail Superintendent Asad Warraich regarding a petition filed by PTI leaders protesting a two-week ban on all public visits and meetings at the prison, where former Prime Minister Imran Khan is detained.

On March 12, the Punjab Home Department imposed a ban on all public interactions at the jail, citing security concerns. PTI leaders criticized this move, alleging it was a deliberate attempt to prevent them from meeting Imran.

The following day, in response to a plea by PTI MNA Sher Afzal Marwat, the IHC asked the jail superintendent to respond.

Marwat later confirmed the decision of IHC to permit online interactions with Imran, praising the allowance of video conferences for incarcerated individuals as an “excellent development.”

On Friday, Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq presided over the petitions, including one filed by Marwat, who appeared before the court. State counsel Abdul Rehman represented Warraich.

The judge questioned why online meetings were permitted at Kot Lakhpat jail but not at Adiala jail if the rules didn’t allow them, as claimed by the superintendent.

He demanded a clear stance from Warraich on the legality of online meetings by the next hearing on March 29. During the hearing, Warraich insisted that online meetings with Imran were not allowed under the rules.

The court referred to reports of Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz announcing online meeting facilities at Kot Lakhpat jail, questioning how this was implemented if it was against the rules. Warraich mentioned writing to the Punjab government to amend jail rules.

The court observed contradictions in the government’s actions and urged a resolution, emphasizing the need to determine if political conversations could be held during jail meetings.

Marwat expressed frustration at being stopped from reaching the jail. Justice Ishaq criticized the situation, suggesting that if civil servants refused to follow unlawful orders, the system would improve.

The judge emphasized the power of ideology and ordered the state counsel to clarify their stance at the next hearing.

Warraich informed the court of a ban on meetings at Adiala Jail since March 12 due to security threats, similar bans were imposed at three other prisons. The judge questioned the rationale behind the ban, particularly with upcoming events like the March 23 parade.

The state counsel promised to seek new directives following developments at Kot Lakhpat jail. Justice Ishaq sought clarification on the legality of online meetings based on Maryam’s announcement and the jail authorities’ response, adjourning the hearing until March 29.

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