Pakistan: Islamabad Court reserves verdict on Bushra Bibi’s plea seeking transfer from Bani Gala sub-jail to Adiala jail

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Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday reserved its verdict on a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf  founder Imran Khan’s wife, Bushra Bibi, Pakistan-based Geo News reported. In her plea, Bushra Bibi has sought her transfer from the Bani Gala sub-jail to the Adiala jail.

Islamabad High Court Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb reserved the verdict after hearing the arguments from both sides. In his arguments before the court, Bushra Bibi’s lawyer Usman Gul stated that the process of declaring the residence a sub-jail was completed within a few hours.

The superintendent jail stated that they could not accommodate Bushra Bibi as the prison was already overcrowded. Apparently, it was decided that she had to be transferred to Bani Gala, according to Geo News report. Justice Aurangzeb asked several questions about declaring Bani Gala a sub-jail and urged the state counsel if its notification was made in a minute.

He asked, “Don’t you feel it was already decided that Bushra Bibi had to be transferred (home)? How many women have been brought to Adiala jail, after sending Bushra Bibi home?” The IHC judge asked whether the 141 women brought to the jail after that have lesser rights. He questioned, “Why don’t you send the other women home as well?”
In response to the judge, the government’s lawyer said Bushra Bibi was shifted to Bani Gala for a threat in jail.

Justice Aurangzeb said he would be happy if he was “willingly” confined to his house and asked how a prisoner’s property could be made a sub-jail without his or her permission. On January 31, Bushra Bibi was placed under house arrest at her residence in Bani Gala after she was convicted in the Toshakhana case. The authorities made Bushra Bibi’s Bani Gala residence a “sub-jail” to place her under house arrest at the request of the Adiala jail superintendent.
On February 6, Bushra Bibi challenged authorities’ decision to place her under house arrest at Bani Gala to serve a 14-year sentence in the case. In the petition, Imran Khan’s wife said that like other political workers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf , she was ready to serve her sentence in the “Ordinary Jail Premises at Adiala Jail, rather than the declared sub-jail at her residence”.

Further, Imran Khan’s wife said that she felt “unsafe” being confined alone on the premises of the sub-jail due to the potential security issues. She termed the “special treatment” meted out to her went against the spirit of equality guaranteed under the Constitution and was consequently discriminatory.

She requested the court to set aside the notification to declare her house sub-jail and shift her to Adiala jail in the “interest of justice,” Geo News reported. Bushra Bibi and Imran Khan were awarded a 14-year jail term, each when accountability court’s Judge Muhammad Bashir announced the verdict in the case related to the illegal sale of state gifts from Toshakhana.

The court also disqualified Imran Khan for 10 years from holding public office and imposed a fine of Pakistani Rupees (PKR) 1.57 billion on the couple. He told the court that Bushra Bibi had nothing to do with the case and was being humiliated by being forcibly dragged into it, Geo News reported.

The Toshakhana has been in the headlines ever since the emergence of the allegations that Imran Khan purchased the gifts he received as Pakistan’s PM at throwaway rates and sold them off in the open market for staggering profits.
Imran Khan was accused of misusing his tenure as Pakistan’s PM to purchase and sell gifts in state possession that were received when he visited other nations, Geo News reported. The gifts included watches given by a royal family, according to government officials, who have alleged previously that Imran Khan’s aides sold them in Dubai.

The gifts included seven wristwatches, six made by watchmaker Rolex, and the most expensive a “Master Graff limited edition” worth Pakistani Rupees (PKR) 85 million. Pakistan National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf forwarded a reference to the Election Commission, asking it to investigate the matter.

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