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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Former Pakistani prime minister meets with his attorney in jail after court orders

'His (Imran Khan) spirit is high, and he has told me to convey his message that he will not bow, come what may,' says lawyer Panjuhta

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan met with his attorney in jail on Monday after a local court directed the prison administration to permit the meeting.

Earlier on Monday, attorney Naeem Haider Panjhuta filed a petition with the Islamabad High Court asking it to order the jail administration to permit a legal team to consult with Khan.

Read more: PTI seeks A class facilities for Imran Khan

Following a brief hearing, the court issued its decision, allowing only Panjhuta to meet with Khan at Attock Prison, located some 88 kilometers (55 miles) south of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.

“I have just held a meeting with Khan sahib (Mr). I will tell the details in a press conference shortly,” Panjhuta later stated on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

“His (Khan) spirit is high, and he has told me to convey his message that he will not bow, come what may,” Panjuhta said at a press conference following the meeting.

The prison authorities, the lawyer said, kept the former prime minister in a “small room” and did not provide him with B-class facilities, which he is entitled to as a former high-ranking politician.

According to the lawyer, Khan said the PTI’s “core committee,” which is led by Vice Chairman and former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, will determine the next course of action “with his consent.”

Read more: Jailed former Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s lawyers to launch legal challenge

Khan’s second lawyer, Shoaib Shaheen, claimed that Humayun Dilawar, an additional district and session judge in Islamabad who announced the verdict on Saturday, did not give Khan a “fair trial.”

“It was a biased and one-sided judgment. The court denied our right to defense and barred us from producing defense witnesses,” former president of the Islamabad Bar Association Shoaib Shaheen told Anadolu.

The government, for its part, stated that Khan was given ample time to prove his innocence, but he repeatedly used “delaying tactics.”

The court declared Khan guilty of “corrupt practices” for concealing details of state gifts and sentenced him to three years in prison.

The police later arrested him at his Zaman Park residence in northeastern Lahore city and transferred him to Attock jail.

The cricketer-turned-politician is currently facing a string of cases lodged against him after he was ousted with a no-confidence vote in April 2021. Since then, Khan has campaigned with his growing supporters for snap elections.

The former prime minister was previously arrested on May 9 by paramilitary Rangers from the Islamabad High Court premises after an anti-graft authority charged him with corruption. Since then, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has faced a nationwide crackdown following violent protests, including attacks on military installations, across the country.

According to the government, over 2,000 PTI supporters and leaders are jailed for attacking military installations, while the PTI claims the figure is approximately 10,000.