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Imran Khan’s party voices concern over safety and health of ex-Pak PM in jail

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LAHORE, Aug 7 (PTI): Imran Khan’s party has voiced concern over the health and safety of the former Pakistan prime minister in jail and firmly opposed the decision to subject him to “harsh solitary confinement”, according to a media report on Monday.

The core committee of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), under the leadership of party Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, held a crucial meeting on Sunday.

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Khan, 70, was arrested from his home in Lahore on Saturday shortly after an Islamabad trial court found him guilty of “corrupt practices” in the Toshakhana corruption case and sentenced him to three years in jail.

Khan’s party earlier on Sunday accused authorities of denying his legal team access to the leader to get his signatures on essential documents for court purposes.

During the core committee’s meeting, the party vehemently criticised the government’s imposition of Section 144, which it said infringed upon the public’s fundamental right to peacefully protest “against cruelty and injustice”, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.

The committee addressed the growing concerns over life and health threats. The meeting held in- depth deliberations on critical issues, including the former prime minister’s arrest by the Punjab Police instead of the Islamabad Police despite the court’s orders to the capital police chief to arrest him.

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Similarly, the members also raised alarm over Khan’s transfer to the Attock Jail instead of Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail. The meeting expressed the conditions of his solitary confinement and the denial of access to lawyers and family members and explored the legal strategy for his prompt release.

It was the second meeting of the core committee held after Khan’s arrest, which saw protests and strong condemnations from the legal fraternity as well as Khan’s supporters who saw the trial as ”biased” for its hurried proceedings.

In the meeting held a day earlier, shortly after Khan’s arrest, the committee had rejected the arrest and called for nationwide protests.

During Sunday’s meeting, the committee expressed strong reservations about the lack of information provided regarding the former prime minister since his arrest on Saturday and firmly opposed the decision to subject him to“harsh solitary confinement”, considering it a violation of established rules and regulations.

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It condemned the government for its failure to provide updates on his health and safety.

It further emphasised that every step taken against the former prime minister, from the registration of the Toshakhana case to the “biased trial and verdict”, appeared to be “driven by a vengeful agenda”.

They also protested the government’s decision to transfer Khan to Attock Jail in defiance of a court order.

Highlighting the challenges Imran’s legal team faced in gaining access to him, the committee accused the government of refusing to grant them the necessary permissions.

The lack of information about Khan’s health alarmed the committee, as more than 24 hours had passed since his arrest without any clarity on his well-being.

Citing concerns over custodial violence during the current regime headed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, the committee expressed concern about potential physical and mental harm to the former prime minister.

They also expressed apprehensions about the quality and hygiene of the food provided to them in prison, as numerous reports have indicated deteriorating conditions due to poor sanitation in jails.

The core committee demanded that lawyers be granted access to the former prime minister for fair legal proceedings against “biased decisions”. They urged the government to abandon its alleged cruel and vindictive approach and allow the legal team access to Khan.

The committee called on the judiciary to take notice of the government’s unlawful actions and address the concerns raised by Khan’s family and the party regarding his health and safety.

The core committee condemned the “illegal crackdown” and alleged mistreatment of PTI workers, demanding an immediate end to such undemocratic practices by the government.

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