RAWALPINDI: Adiala Jail authorities have received a threatening phone call on Tuesday, the unknown caller said he was speaking from Afghanistan and Adiala jail would be bombed in three days. No phone number was displayed on the CLI of the jail phone, said the prison’s sources.
The security around the maximum-security prison was further tightened with deployment/patrolling of Elite Force commandos around the premises. Deputy Inspector General Prisons Rawalpindi Region Abdul Rauf Rana has also sent a letter to City Police Officer (CPO) Rawalpindi Syed Khalid Hamdani to beef up security around the jail.
The same day five terrorists tried to target the Mach jail of Balochistan, which was foiled by the security forces. To avoid any untoward situation, the security should be increased and search and combing operations should be conducted in the area around the jail.
On receiving the information from the jail administration, the police have increased the security level from high alert to red alert and special police checkpoints have been set up at eight different places around the jail. As part of the tightened security, five sections of the Elite Force have been deployed and they are continuously patrolling around the jail.
It may be remembered that besides the PTI founder and former foreign minister, former interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, ex-information minister Fawad Chaudhry and former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi are also languishing in the Adiala jail.
A statement issued by a spokesperson for the Rawalpindi police said in view of the recent situation in the country, the external security of Adiala Jail had been increased.
More security personnel have been deployed at the front, rear and sides of the jail and all measures have been taken to make patrolling and security foolproof on the sides. Law enforcement agencies are also being consulted. Moreover, senior officers are reviewing the security arrangements from time to time, it said.
After the conviction by a special court on Monday, the jail status of Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi have been changed from under-trial “accused” to prisoners.
The special court set up under the Official Secrets Act sentenced former prime minister Imran Khan and ex-foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to 10 years imprisonment for the breach of state secrets.
According to media reports, a senior official said that the two PTI leaders will be treated as “prisoners” after being convicted and sentenced; however, they will be allowed to use civil dresses in the jail.
He said according to rules, the name of every convicted prisoner is entered serially in the admission register. The serial number of this register pertaining to him will be his admission number and will be used along with his name and classification in all future references in official correspondence about him.
After the two PTI leaders were sentenced, the admission number of the two will also be entered serially in the admission register by the assistant superintendent, in-charge of the admission register.
On Wednesday, in another development, the former prime minister and his wife Bushra Bibi were sentenced to 14 years in jail in the Toshakhana case. The security for the convicted PTI founder was increased inside the jail.
According to jail rules, one prisoner (mushakti) is kept with such a prisoner who is already with Mr Khan. However, no other change will take place. Every prisoner’s name shall be written up in the admission register by the assistant superintendent in-charge of admission and shall also be examined by a medical officer (MO) or their junior within 24 hours of his admission into the prison.
The MO will examine every prisoner and enter in the admission register their age, height, weight and the state of health.
Bushra Bibi transferred to Bani Gala ‘sub-jail’
In another development, Bushra Bibi, who was sentenced to 14 years in the Toshakhana reference case, has been moved to Bani Gala, the Islamabad residence of her husband Imran Khan, designated as a sub-jail.
The former first lady surrendered voluntarily before the accountability court in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, where the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team took her into custody. The Islamabad Chief Commissioner issued a notification declaring the residence of convict Bushra Bibi in Bani Gala as a sub-jail until further orders.
“The Chief Commissioner, Islamabad Capital Territory is pleased to declare the residence of convict Bushra Bibi (Residential Compound, Khan House Banigala, Mohra Noor, Islamabad) as Sub-Jail till further orders,” stated the notification.
Stringent security measures are in place, with jail staff stationed inside Bani Gala, while Islamabad Police personnel will remain outside Imran Khan’s residence. The Toshakhana case became a major point of contention in national politics after the Election Commission of Pakistan disqualified the PTI chief for making “false statements and incorrect declarations” last year.
Imran Khan and his wife were handed a 14-year jail sentence by an accountability court in the Toshakhana case. The court not only imposed rigorous imprisonment but also disqualified Khan from holding any public office for the next 10 years. The couple was fined PKR 1.573 billion as part of the judgement.
Judge Muhammad Bashir also disqualified the former prime minister for 10 years from holding public office besides imposing a fine of Rs1.57 billion — 787 million each —on the couple.
During the previous hearing, which was also held at Adiala jail, the court recorded Bushra Bibi’s statement under Section 342. Imran Khan told the court that his wife had nothing to do with the case and was being humiliated by being forcibly dragged into it.
The sentencing by an anti-graft court in Islamabad comes a day after Khan and PTI senior leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi were handed a 10-year jail term in cipher case related to the leaking of state secrets.
Imran Khan was also handed a three-year prison sentence in August last year by the trial court for selling gifts worth more than 140 million rupees ($501,000) in state possession and received during his 2018-2022 premiership.
Wednesday’s verdict was linked to the same matter, but followed an investigation by the top anti-graft body, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which had also charged his wife in the case.
Imran Khan’s earlier three-year sentence was later suspended but Khan remains behind bars in connection with other cases. He has said that he legally purchased the state gifts. Government officials have alleged Khan’s aides sold the gifts in Dubai.
What is Toshakhana and is the case?
Established in 1974, Toshakhana is a department under the administrative control of the Cabinet Division and stores precious gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats and officials by heads of other governments and states and foreign dignitaries as a goodwill gesture.
It has valuables ranging from bulletproof cars, gold-plated souvenirs and expensive paintings to watches, ornaments, rugs and swords. Under the rules governing Toshakhana — a Persian word meaning “treasure house” — government officials can keep gifts if they have a low worth, while they must pay a dramatically reduced fee to the government for extravagant items.
The Toshakhana has been under a microscope ever since the emergence of the allegations that Khan purchased the gifts he received as prime minister at throwaway rates and sold them off in the open market for staggering profits.
The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was accused of misusing his 2018 to 2022 premiership to buy and sell gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad and worth more than Rs140 million. The gifts included watches given by a royal family, according to government officials, who have alleged previously that Khan’s aides sold them in Dubai.
Moreover, seven wristwatches, six made by watchmaker Rolex, and the most expensive a “Master Graff limited edition” valued at 85 million Pakistani rupees ($385,000), were also among the gifts. In October 2022, the electoral body declared the former premier guilty of corrupt practices and filed a complaint in an Islamabad court.