ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday strongly condemned the two-week “blanket ban” on Adiala jail’s visitations, terming it a deliberate plan to stop party leaders from meeting Imran Khan, who is currently incarcerated at the notorious correctional facility.

Speaking at a presser, PTI chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan along with PTI secretary general Omar Ayub, said that “we strongly condemn this as they [Punjab government] have imposed a kind of blanket restriction for two weeks and the excuse made was that there is a terror threat.”

Gohar said that the Punjab Home Department should have informed the lawyers and the family of the PTI founding chairman before imposing any such ban which is in no way justified.

Recalling “two assassination attempts” on Imran Khan, he said, “Caging him all of a sudden is an indication that Khan sahib’s life is in danger.”

Speaking on the occasion, Omar Ayub said that he and other PTI lawmakers were not allowed to meet Imran Khan despite court’s orders, which is contempt of court.

“They have imposed this ban for two weeks. We condemn this. The Punjab home secretary should be ashamed of himself. The so-called, unconstitutional and illegal chief minister Maryam Nawaz should be ashamed of herself because this bar has been placed under her watch,” he lamented.

In the same breath, he continued that Shehbaz Sharif and newly sworn-in Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi, who had been serving as the caretaker Punjab chief minister until recently, should be ashamed of themselves as well.

He regretted that the way the so-called rulers are making excuses to ban the visitors from meeting Imran Khan at a time when the Senate elections are around the corner under the pretext of security threat is condemned.

“The date for Senate elections had been announced, which needed to be discussed with Imran Khan but the corrupt government is creating obstacles in it,” he added.

Highlighting that today was his third visit to the jail but he was denied a meeting with Imran, the PTI secretary general expressed concern for the former premier’s safety.

Terming it a “bogus ban”, Ayub said the law did not allow such a ban and highlighted that the jail’s superintendent was not present there.

“I called the assistant superintendent — that he come and talk to us and tell us — and he ran away,” the PTI MNA claimed.

Stating that the jail staff was “refusing” to appear in front of the PTI leaders, Ayub asserted that the party “would call them in National Assembly” to question them about the matter.

Echoing his statements from yesterday about summoning the police to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the PTI secretary general said, “We will get our partners of the PAC in the Punjab Assembly to probe the expenses of Adiala Jail and its officers’ corruption.”

Ayub said that according to a court order if PTI members were not allowed to meet Imran, a fine of Rs 25,000 was liable to be imposed on the staff by the jail authorities.

He also demanded to immediately sack the Adiala jail superintendent Asad Warraich besides sharing the details of the probe into the arrest of terrorists last week.

PTI spokesperson Raoof Hasan said the “blanket ban on meetings” with Imran was a “criminal act, which reflects the extent of fear the unconstitutional and illegal government of Punjab and their handlers suffer from.”

In a statement, he said the bar would be challenged in court, expressing hope that immediate relief would be provided and that the provincial government would be “instructed to desist from repeating such draconian measures”.

“Imran Khan cannot be wished away by unleashing state fascism. The more the perpetrators try to do so, the more powerful Khan becomes. He rules the hearts,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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