Lahore: Pakistan’s incarcerated former premier Nawaz Sharif will maintain his jail room on his own as the Punjab province government refused to provide him a prisoner who could serve as his orderly, according to a media report. Sharif has been serving a seven-year jail term in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills graft case and being a former prime minister he is entitled to better facilities, including an orderly who is from prisoners.
Punjab’s Inspector General of Prisons Shahid Saleem Beg said that Punjab government decided that it could not provide a prisoner to Sharif who could serve as his orderly and that he would have to maintain his room on his own, the Dawn reported. The prisons chief said Sharif has been asked to maintain his room” to serve out the seven-year “rigorous” imprisonment handed down to him in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills/Hill Metal Establishment reference.
Speaking to media in the presence of Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar at the Governor House, the prisons chief said Sharif’s case was highly sensitive and he could not be allowed to go outside his barracks in the prison. He said Sharif’s rigour had been kept within his barracks. According to the jail manual, he said, the former premier had been asked to maintain his room himself.
However, he later clarified to the daily that Sharif had not been put to any rigour, adding that the manual allowed elderly inmates certain concessions on that count. Any issue related to Sharif in jail could bring a bad name to Pakistan, Beg said. An anti-corruption court in Pakistan on December 24 sentenced the ousted premier to seven years in jail but acquitted him in the Flagship Investments case, concluding a series of three court cases against the Sharif family in the high-profile Panama Papers case.
The Al-Azizi Steel Mill case was about setting up steel mills in Saudi Arabia allegedly with corruption money. Three cases – Avenfield properties case, Flagship investment case and Al-Azizia steel mills case – were launched against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on September 8, 2017 following a judgment by the Supreme Court that disqualified Sharif in the Panama Papers case in July last year.