POLITICAL NEWS

Nawaz denied assistant, told to maintain jail room on his own

LAHORE: Although former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been given ‘better class’ in the Kot Lakhpat jail, the Punjab government on Wednesday said it could not provide a prisoner to him who could serve as his ‘orderly’ and that he would have to maintain his room on his own.

Inspector General of Prisons Shahid Saleem Beg said: “Nawaz 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 personnel in the presence of Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar at the Governor House, the prisons chief said Mr. Sharif’s case was highly sensitive and he could not be allowed to go outside his barracks in the prison. He said Mr. Sharif’s “rigor had been kept within his barracks”.

Read: Nawaz might have enjoyed better prison conditions — if he had ever looked into improving them

According to the jail manual, he said, the former premier had been asked to maintain his room himself.

However, he later clarified to Dawn that Mr. Sharif had not been put to any rigor, adding that the manual allowed elderly inmates certain concessions on that count.

“Any issue related to Nawaz Sharif in jail could bring a bad name to Pakistan,” Mr. Beg said.

Meanwhile, responding at the press conference to a question about the PTI government’s stance on the Sindh government, Governor Sarwar said the federal government did not want any confrontation with any political party and instead wanted to take all political parties along.

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“The PTI is neither planning nor intending to oust any provincial government,” he said and added that the incumbent government would continue to root out corruption from the society that had eaten up all the resources and left people to live in abject poverty. He said the PTI was crusading against corruption for the past 22 years and could not compromise on the matter.

The PTI government believed that it was corruption that had destroyed institutions like state-owned hospitals and even deprived the masses of clean drinking water, he said.

Mr. Sarwar said the country could not progress and attain prosperity without a surgical operation to root out the cancer of corruption.

About the inclusion of all the chief ministers in the National Finance Commission, he said the chief ministers were on the same page and that the federal government would take all provinces along. The smaller provinces needed to be taken care of, he added.

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