People are concerned after the authorities at Adiala jail refused to allow the meeting of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Muhammad Safdar with their legal team to determine the future course of action. Even though there are rules of Pakistan Prisons Rules 1978 that grant every convicted person a reasonable opportunity of interviewing his relatives, friends and legal advisors to prepare an appeal against a court’s order, the authorities refused to provide the former prime minister, his daughter and his son in law their legal right.

Whereas the jail authorities maintain that Thursday is a day reserved for meeting with family members, there is no such barring in the document that governs prisons and conduct of the authorities. On the face of the things, it seems that jail authorities want to create as many hurdles as possible for Sharifs before their appeals are heard in Islamabad High Court (IHC). While it is not clear whether such tactics will affect the outcome of the petitions filed before IHC against the order of accountability court, one thing that is visible is that Sharifs are discriminated against.

Cancelling the meeting and not telling about next possible date for a meeting of Sharifs and their legal advisors are nothing but ensuring that the convicts and their lawyers spend as little time as possible on consultations.

The actions of the jail authorities, if interpreted as liberally as our courts interpret legal texts, are obstacles in the way of free and fair trial. Such actions on the part of the jail authorities give the impression that the whole government machinery is determined to keep Nawaz and his daughter behind bars by hook or by crook. The authorities should respond to the requests of the meeting made by the legal team of the convicts to nullify the impression that the whole government is biased and is keen on keeping Sharifs behind bars.