After first night in lavish jail, Nawaz Sharif, Maryam to face court today

After first night in lavish jail, Nawaz Sharif, Maryam to face court today


Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, 68, and his daughter Maryam Sharif, 44, will today be presented before a court that will be constituted inside the high-security Adiala Jail.

Their counsel, Khawaja Haris, will file an appeal before the Islamabad High Court against the verdict in the Avenfield case.

The Ministry of Law and Justice has issued a new notification, saying that the accountability court would conduct trial of remaining two corruption cases, which include Flagship Investments and Al Azizia Steel Mills, against Sharif and others at the Adiala jail.

Accountability Court-Islamabad Judge Muhammad Bashir, who last night issued warrants for the imprisonment of the three-time premier and his political heir, will conduct the trial against the Sharifs in the jail.

Ousted Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam sit on a Lahore-bound flight due for departure, at Abu Dhabi International Airport, UAE, on Friday. (Photo: Reuters)

The former PM and his daughter spent their first night inside the prison on Friday after officials of the National Accountability Bureau took them into custody, immediately after they landed at the Lahore airport from London.

After being taken into custody, they were flown to Islamabad on a special aircraft and then taken to the Adiala Jail in separate armoured personnel carriers escorted by police convoys.

The authorities, according to new plan, have decided to keep the former prime minister and his daughter in the Adiala Jail in the garrison city where they have been provided ‘B’ class facilities, The News, an English daily from Pakistan, reported.

According to a notification issued by the Islamabad administration, they have declared a rest house at the Sihala Police Training College in the capital as a sub-jail to keep the duo, with immediate effect and until further orders.

However, Geo News, a news channel from Pakistan, quoting sources reported that authorities have decided to keep them at the Adiala Jail for now.

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A team of doctors, in the presence of Islamabad magistrate and senior police officials at Adiala Jail, conducted the medical examination of Sharif and his daughter and declared them fit.

PERKS OF BEING PM: A LAVISH RETREAT IN PRISON

Nawaz Sharif and his daughter are being given ‘B’ class facilities inside the jail which include permission to get home-cooked food, attached washrooms, bed, mattress, table and chair, a room cooler, a 21-inch television. They will also be allowed to meet each other.

As per the rules, Class ‘B’ consists of prisoners who by social status, education or habit of life have been accustomed to a superior mode of living. Habitual prisoners can be included in this class by order of the government, Geo News, a news channel from Pakistan, said in a report.

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The report added that usually ‘A’ or ‘B’ class prisoners are educated and give lessons to the uneducated prisoners in the jail. They do not do hard labour and can be engaged in useful work which is defined as rigorous punishment in their case.

The expenses of facilities to prisoners under A or B class are usually paid by prisoners with the permission of jail department, the report added.

However, there are also reports that prisoners in such jails have to pay for the facilities. The government is only obligated to provide them security in a high-security ward where they will be kept away from other prisoners.

The government cannot provide them facilities that are not mentioned in the prisons’ rule book.

Nawaz Sharif was sent a cell in the ‘Better Class’ category because he is a former parliamentarian and is entitled to privileges in jail.

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On the other hand, to avail the same facilities, Maryam Sharif will have to prove that she has paid at least PKR 6,00,000 (Rs 3,38,000 roughly) as annual income tax.

Both Sharif and Maryam have been sentenced by an accountability court to 10 and 7 years in prison respectively.

Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court last year in the Panama Papers case.

Sharif has been one of the country’s leading politicians for most of the past 30 years. He remains popular, especially in Punjab, the most populous and electorally significant province.

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