In a petition filed late on Monday to the Islamabad high court, Khan’s legal team complained about his “tiny, dirty” cell and said he was being denied access to his doctor and members of his family and party. He “is deprived of the rights and facilities to which he is otherwise entitled under the Pakistan Prison Rules,” the petition read.
The former cricket star also argued that he should be transferred to a prison near the capital, Islamabad, that has “A-class” facilities. In better facilities, authorities provide inmates with goods such as access to newspapers, air cooler, television and permission to be served home-made food, Khan’s legal team said.
The conditions in Khan’s cell shouldn’t be a surprise and other former prime ministers have face such conditions, according to Amir Saeed Rawn, a former secretary general of the Lahore High Court Bar Association.
“Generally our prisons aren’t in good conditions,” Rawn said. “They are overcrowded” and “pathetic,” he added. But typically, politicians are kept in a separate cell for security reasons, Rawn said.
The information minister for Punjab province, Aamir Mir, wasn’t available for comment.
A lower court on Saturday sentenced Khan to three years in jail after declaring him guilty of hiding earnings from the sale of state gifts while in power. The punishment bars Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s political rival from contesting elections for five years. The 70-year-old Khan is challenging his conviction in a higher court, according to a separate motion filed Tuesday.
Pakistan is poised to start its national elections cycle with Sharif scheduled to dissolve the lower house of the Parliament on August 9 as the government’s five-year term comes to an end. The nation will appoint a caretaker government that will oversee the election process.
Khan’s lawyer, Naeem Haider Panjhuta, told reporters that Khan’s morale seemed high after meeting him at his jail on Monday.
Khan is the defendant in more than 170 legal cases since being ousted from power last year in a parliamentary no-confidence vote. He has said these legal challenges are meant to keep him from participating in the nation’s politics.
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