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Nawaz Sharif’s lawyers allege he is being kept in sub-standard facilities in Pakistan jail

No bed or air conditioner has been provided to Nawaz Sharif in Adiala central jail, his lawyers say.

world Updated: Jul 14, 2018 20:51 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Nawaz Sharif,Maryam Nawaz,Pakistan's National Accountability Bureau
Ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on a plane after landing at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore, Pakistan, on Friday. (Reuters photo)

Former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz, who were arrested by Pakistan's National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials upon their arrival in Lahore, are being lodged in sub-standard facilities, their lawyers have alleged.

The legal team said they were allowed to meet Sharif only for five minutes.

They said the team led by Saad Hashmi went to the former prime minister to attain a power of attorney so that an appeal could be filed in the Islamabad High Court. No bed or air conditioner has been provided to Nawaz in Adiala central jail, they told reporters.

A senior police official was present throughout the meeting. Nawaz complained that he was not even given a newspaper to read. His bed consists of a lone mattress on the floor, and the washroom was in a despicable condition, the lawyers claimed.

The legal team was not allowed to meet Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz, who is also lodged in the same jail. Only Amjad Parvez, her legal counsel, could meet her.

The PML-N’s social media team released Maryam’s letter in which she has turned down the suggestion to avail better facilities.

On Friday night, the father-daughter duo was separated and taken from the Islamabad International Airport in two convoys to the Adiala jail in Rawalpindi for a medical examination. As per official procedure, the examination was carried out in the presence of the Islamabad magistrate and senior police officials.

The penitentiary's medical board compiled reports on Nawaz and Maryam's medical history and declared them fit for incarceration in the facility.

The Islamabad chief commissioner had initially issued a notification declaring the Sihala Police Training College Rest House in the capital city as a sub-jail for keeping the convicted prisoners. A second notification followed, stating that Sihala would serve as a sub-jail only for Maryam and that the preceding notification would be considered void ab initio. Maryam was initially sent to Sihala rest house and then shifted to the women’s barracks in the prison.

The former prime minister was transported directly to Adiala. Initially, they were to appear in front of Judge Mohammad Bashir for their official sentence to begin, but citing security threats, the court approved NAB’s exemption plea and ordered them to be taken to prison directly.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s reported remarks that “those greeting Nawaz Sharif are donkeys” sparked a verbal duel between lawmakers of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and PTI in the Senate.

Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s sister, Senator Saadia Abbasi, said she takes strong exception to PTI chief’s remarks. She questioned if all the PML-N senators leaving for Lahore to welcome Sharif are donkeys as per Imran.

In another development, the caretaker government declared Sunday as a day of national mourning for the victims of the terrorist attacks in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It said the national flag would fly at half mast on Sunday to mourn nearly 150 people who died in the attacks.

Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday suspended countrywide political activities to express solidarity with the victims. In a message posted on Twitter, he said the mindset responsible for the horrific attacks must be defeated.

Addressing a press conference in Peshawar, Bilawal said he would continue meeting political workers and party candidates but did not wish to endanger their lives after the attacks on candidates.

The PPP chairperson reiterated his earlier claim that his party was not being provided a level-playing field.

He claimed that a single political party was being favoured. “Our party workers are being told to join PTI and GDA (Grand Democratic Alliance), but our workers are standing with us and are loyal.”

First Published: Jul 14, 2018 20:50 IST