IHC disposes of Bushra Bibi’s plea seeking transfer to Adiala jail

PTI raises concerns on report of Bushra Bibi’s ill health at Banigala

Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday disposed of a petition filed by ex-premier Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi seeking her transfer from her Banigala residence, which had been declared a sub-jail, to Adiala Jail.

Justice Miangul Hassan Aurang­zeb disposed of the plea due to Bushra Bibi’s lawyers failing to appear before the court.

The former first lady was taken into custody on January 31 after an Islamabad accountability court sentenced her and Imran to 14 years in jail in the Toshakhana reference.

While the IHC on April 1 suspended their sentences in the Toshakhana reference, she remains in custody in the Iddat case. Imran also remains incarcerated in other cases.

Following the Toshakhana verdict, Bushra had arrived at Adiala Jail, where the National Accountability Bureau’s team was already present, to surrender to the authorities. Subsequently, she was taken into custody by the anti-graft watchdog.

How­ever, she was moved to her Banigala home after it was declared a sub-jail in a late-night notification. Her shifting to the residence has been under discussion for weeks as she and her husband denied submitting any application to declare the residence a sub-jail.

Almost a week after her arrest, Bushra Bibi had challenged the residence’s status as a sub-jail, urging the IHC to let her complete her 14-year sentence in Adiala Jail.

In a subsequent hearing, the Adiala Jail administration had opposed moving her back to the prison, claiming that overcrowding posed security threats for the former first lady.

Last month, Justice Aurangzeb had asked if the authorities sought permission from Imran before converting his Banigala residence into a sub-jail.

A day ago, Bushra Bibi filed another petition before the IHC, alleging violations of her fundamental rights during her incarceration at Banigala.

The hearing
At the outset of the hearing, Justice Aurangzeb expressed his displeasure at no lawyer appearing before the court from Bushra Bibi’s side.

He asked why the former first lady’s counsels were absent. “If they had won this case, Bushra Bibi would have gone to [Adiala] jail, but they (lawyers) themselves do not want Bushra Bibi to go to jail,” the judge remarked.

Remarking that the lawyers had made light of the proceedings, Justice Aurangzeb said that despite him stating at the previous hearing that he would decide the matter today, the lawyers were absent.

The state counsel then informed the court that a meeting between Bushra and Imran had been arranged at Eidul Fitr. Justice Aurangzeb then said, “Even this side is not working properly and even now, is not doing [things] right. Politics is being played with the court from both sides.”

The judge went on to note that PTI lawyer Shoaib Shaheen had arrived at the court but then left and did not return.

Subsequently, the IHC disposed of Bushra Bibi’s petition due to her lawyers not actively pursuing the case.

A while after the court had disposed of the plea, Bushra Bibi’s counsel Usman Gill reached the IHC, at which Justice Aurangzeb told him that the petition had been disposed of.

The IHC judge suggested Gill file an application to restore the petition, at which the lawyer said he would do so.

Bushra’s petition alleging violation of rights
In a separate petition filed on Monday, Bushra Bibi contended that she was poisoned and subjected to psychological torture at the sub-jail.

She further claimed that she was suffering from heartburn, and aches in her throat and mouth, which she said were the result of eating a poisonous meal.

The former first lady said that there is only one lady deputed in the sub-jail while the rest of the staff is male and she feels discomfort in such an environment.

Moreover, Bushra Bibi alleged the room in which she has been confined is bugged and spy cameras are installed there at different places, which is against her right to privacy.

The petitioner said she had not been given ample time to meet her family members and lawyers. She highlighted that a plea requesting her shifting to Adiala Jail was still pending before the IHC.

Bushra Bibi urged the IHC to order relevant authorities to ensure the protection of her fundamental rights and further requested that the court allow her medical check-up from Shaukat Khanam Memorial Hospital.