Punjab gov't asks IG prison to remove AC from Nawaz’s cell

LAHORE: Punjab government has asked the inspector general prison to remove air conditioner (AC) from the prison cell of incarcerated prime minister Nawaz Sharif – a move that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz says would be equivalent to putting Nawaz’s life in danger.

A letter written by Punjab Home Department to the inspector general prison on July 17 says “the following directions of Prime Minister have been intimated for implementation and report ‘No preferential treatment be given to the criminals and money launders in the prison in Punjab’.”

The letter asks IG prison to take necessary action in the matter immediately and send report in three days. Interestingly, the letter, titled “Prime Minister’s visit to Lahore on 19.6.19” carries many typos such as “Prime Minister Punjab” and “Services and General Administration Department Lahore”.

In another letter dated July 12, it was mentioned that information regarding implementation of four directives of the prime minister were still awaited.

According to the letter, the PM apart from instructing the Punjab government to take action against child pornographers, child molesters and fake encounters by police had also asked not to provide any preferential treatment to criminal and money launders in prison of Punjab.

Prime Minister Imran Khan in his address to Pakistani community in the US on Sunday announced to withdraw the facilities of AC and LCDs from jailed politicians including Nawaz Sharif, who is in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail, as well as the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari.

However, the above letters – which media acquired through reliable official – show that long before the announcement, the PM had already instructed authorities to withdraw these facilities.

Punjab additional secretary prison has, however, denied knowledge of any such letters and said when instructions would be given by the prime minister they would be implemented.

Punjab Information Department has also declined to comment on the matter. Spokesperson to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Gill was also unavailable for comment on the issue.

Responding to the report in a press conference on Wednesday, Maryam Nawaz said a team of doctors that examined Nawaz on July 3, advised in their report that his room temperature should be maintained at a comfortable level to prevent dehydration and possible deterioration of his renal function.

“Even the team of doctors they [government] put together for Nawaz Sharif advised a comfortable room temperature but our prime minister goes to America and announces that he will take away the facility of AC from Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif,” she said.

She said last week on Wednesday the electricity supply to Nawaz Sharif’s cell remained disconnected for 17 hours. She said the move showed ‘shallowness’ of the prime minister.

Maryam said she suspects a dangerous international conspiracy behind mistreating of the PML-N supreme leader. “That is why I am going to take the matter to court,” she said.

Maryam showed and read out a recent evaluation of a medical board. The report showed that Nawaz was recommended hospitalisation at multiple occasions due to worsening health which the prison authorities and the government did not communicate to Nawaz’s family or his personal physician.

She also objected to the medical board changing Nawaz’s medication without consulting his special physician or his doctors abroad who had been dealing with his complicated ailment for over a decade.

The report mentioned that Nawaz had been using his emergency life-saving sublingual spray too frequently which, she said, meant that he may be getting frequent attacks of angina. “The authorities, despite such this state of Nawaz’s health, did not inform the family about it,” she said.