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Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi’s right to life violated in sub-jail: Pak high court

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Islamabad, May 10 (PTI) A Pakistani high court has concluded that the state transgressed the right to life of former premier Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi by confining her at her private residence designated as a sub-jail and depriving her of interaction with other prisoners, a media report said on Friday.

On Wednesday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered the former first lady’s transfer to the high-security Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, where her 71-year-old husband Khan has been jailed.

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Bushra Bibi, 49, had been incarcerated at Bani Gala, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party founder’s mansion in the suburbs of Islamabad, after conviction in two cases, while Khan was kept at the Adiala Jail.

On Thursday, the IHC issued a 15-page written order in which it said that the state has not just made the sentence of simple imprisonment harsher and heavier but has also violated Bushra Bibi’s right to life guaranteed under Article 9 of the Constitution, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.

“The mere fact that the room where the petitioner [Bushra Bibi was] confined in the sub-jail [was] guarded by a prison ward [did] not mean that the petitioner [was] not in isolation,” it said.

Asserting that it has the power and responsibility to intervene and protect the prisoner against inter alia harsher restraints and heavier severities than the sentence carries, the court noted that the sentence of 14-year rigorous imprisonment handed out to Bushra Bibi had already been suspended.

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It also noted that a seven-year sentence given to her in another case was simple imprisonment.

“By keeping her in isolation at the sub-jail and depriving her of interaction with other prisoners, the state has not just made the sentence of simple imprisonment harsher and heavier but has also transgressed the petitioner’s right to life guaranteed under Article 9 of the Constitution,” it said.

The court noted that the entire Bani Gala was declared a sub-jail, implying that the property could not be freely accessed by either Bushra Bibi’s or her husband’s children or family members unless specifically permitted by the superintendent or the court.

“In other words, the impugned notification dated 31.01.2024 [of Islamabad commissioner] has had the effect of requisitioning the said property in its entirety. The said property is admittedly in the use of government officials who have been assigned [its] responsibility of internal and external security,” it said.

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There was nothing on the record to show that the property owner’s consent was obtained before the notification’s issuance, it said.

“In this way, the state deprived the owner of Khan House of his fundamental right enshrined in Article 24 of the Constitution and [remained] under an obligation to adequately compensate him for such deprivation,” it said.

In its order on Wednesday, the court announced the notification to declare Bani Gala, a sub-jail, “null and void.

Bushra Bibi was arrested on January 31 this year after an Islamabad accountability court sentenced her and Khan to 14 years in jail in the Toshakhana corruption case.

While their sentences in the Toshakhana corruption case were suspended by the IHC, Bushra Bibi remains in custody in the ‘un-Islamic’ marriage case, while Khan also remains incarcerated in other cases.

Since his removal from power in a no-confidence motion in April 2022, cricketer-turned-politician Khan has been convicted in at least four cases, including the cipher (secret diplomatic communication) case. PTI GRS AKJ

GRS

 

 

 

 

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