Why can’t Adiala inmates have virtual moots: IHC

In Local
March 30, 2024



ISLAMABAD:

An Islamabad High Court judge on Friday remarked that he could not understand why virtual meetings of prisoners in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail, where PTI founding chairman and former premier Imran Khan was incarcerated, was being opposed.

IHC’s Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan heard the clubbed pleas related to Imran’s separate meeting in jail or via video link and against Rule 265 of the Pakistan Prison Rules, 1978.

The judge observed that the authorities were bent upon following a line written in the jail rules even through it could be amended in an hour.

During the proceedings, Adiala jail superintendent Asad Warraich submitted a report to the court on the meetings of the PTI founding chairman in prison.

The advocate general told the court that they had prepared the standard operating procedures (SOPs) with consultation.
The judge told him that this could have been carried out earlier.

Judicial assistant Zainab Janjua informed the court that in the prison rules available online, the inmates were not allowed to hold meetings twice a week, while the version of the book allowed two of them.

The advocate general said there were two or three books about prison rules with different authors.

He added that he would speak to the Punjab government and finalise the agreed rules.

Janjua informed the court that according to the online version, Rules 265 allowed superior class prisoners to write one letter and have one meeting in a week.

She added that it also prohibited the discussion of political matters in the letters and meetings.

The judicial assistant presented the judgments of various Indian courts before the IHC in connection with the prison rules, according to which political discussion was allowed in jail.

The hearing of the matter was adjourned till April 5.

The Adiala jail administration has refused to grant the lawyers representing Imran online access to their client.

The Adiala jail superintendent had earlier told the IHC that there was no provision for online meetings in the jail rules.

The online version also reads that “The number of persons who may visit a prisoner at any given times should be limited to six”.

“The discussion of political matters shall not be allowed at these interviews. The subject matter of all letters shall be strictly limited to private affairs and shall not contain any reference to prison administration and discipline, other prisoners or politics,” it added.

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