Some TV channels in Pakistan have quoted sources as saying that the AC has been removed from former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s cell in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail, but that claim has not been confirmed by the relevant authorities.
According to IG Prisons Shahid Salim Baig, he has not received any orders from the Home Department that mentions withdrawing of facilities from the former prime minister’s jail cell.
On the other hand, Punjab Information Minister Mian Aslam told The Citizen: “The government only wants to make sure that the prison manual is in compliance.” He further added that “there are plenty of other prisoners who are also treated according to the jail manual.”
According to Ijaz Asghar, superintendent of the Kot Lakhpat Jail, he too has not received any orders in which he has been asked to withdraw facilities from Nawaz Sharif’s jail cell. He explained,” The facilities that Nawaz Sharif had available in Adiala Jail, he was given the same facilities on transfer to Lahore. Kot Lakhpat Jail authorities have not provided any more facilities, though they have not yet received orders to withdraw the facilities. When we will receive any orders, action will be taken accordingly.”
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to the United States announced to withdraw AC and television facilities in jail from Nawaz Sharif. After his return, the debate intensified whether Nawaz Sharif’s AC and TV would be removed or not.
Later, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz showed the written decision of the medical board in a press conference in Lahore, in which the board suggested that because of his illness former prime minister’s room temperature should be moderate.
What does Jail Manuel say in this regard?
According to Advocate Ikram Chaudhry, the Punjab government will have to amend the law to withdraw facilities from Nawaz Sharif.
He says, “The proposed amendments to the prison rules will be forwarded to the provincial cabinet. After the cabinet’s approval, the bill will be presented in the Provincial Assembly, after which assembly will forward the bill to the relevant standing Committee of Assembly. After the committee’s approval bill will be forwarded again to provisional assembly. If the bill is passed, it will take several months after the governor’s signature to be implemented. So this process can take several months.”
According to Ikram Chaudhry, the government can also issue special SRO to avoid the long process that can be implemented immediately. Ikram Chaudhry believes that the class system should not be for convicted prisoners, but for under-trials and references.
It is to be remembered that under the Prison Act 1978, there have been three levels for prisoners in Pakistan called A, B, and C. The A and B category is also called Special Class. According to the prison manual, prisoners who are given A class are given a separate cell covering two rooms. In addition to the beds, AC, fridge, TV, and furniture, separate kitchen facilities are available for this class prisoner.
A-class prisoner is also allowed to cook the food of his choice, rather than a regular prison meal. In addition, two laborers are given to the prisoner in the A-class.
The prisoners who are given B-Class are also given a separate room and a laborer, but if the jail superintendent wishes, he can increase the number of laborers. Nawaz Sharif was given A-Class in Adiala Jail, while Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar were given B Class. However, in Kot Lakhpat jail, Nawaz Sharif has been provided B class facilities due to lack of A-class facilities, because there is no A-Class facility in any jail in Punjab other than Adiala and Bahawalpur Jail.