South Asia

Wife of ex-Pakistan PM moves to jail at her own request, lawyer says

A court in Pakistan granted a request Wednesday from the wife of former Prime Minister Imran Khan to be transferred to jail from house arrest, her lawyer announced. Initially, the government had ordered her house arrest.

Bushra Bibi, in her petition to the Islamabad High Court, accused authorities of violating her privacy and serving contaminated food at her home, which she described as being heavily monitored by male staff, a claim denied by the prison officials.

Bibi has been confined to a single room in Khan’s hilltop mansion in Islamabad since the couple’s January conviction on charges of illegally selling state gifts. Through her lawyers, Bibi requested a transfer to jail, which was implemented shortly after the court’s decision, according to her party and a local administration official, Afzaal Ahmad.

The court directed that Bibi be moved to Adyala Jail in Rawalpindi, where Khan, 70, a former cricket star, is serving his 14-year sentence, her party reported in a statement.

The party emphasized that Bibi’s relocation to jail addresses criticisms suggesting her home confinement was a strategic move to negotiate concessions from the government.

Pakistan Army spokesperson Major General Ahmed Sharif commented on Tuesday that negotiations were not feasible with a party responsible for last year’s attacks on state institutions. This was in reference to incidents on May 9, where Khan’s supporters stormed and set fire to military installations following his arrest. He noted that those involved must seek forgiveness before any discussions could begin.

Asad Qaisar, a close aide to Khan, told ARY TV that issuing an apology was out of the question.

Khan, who was removed from office in 2022, attributed his ouster to a conspiracy involving the military, following a fallout with powerful army generals.