Lawyers representing former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, on Monday (7) were making efforts to initiate legal proceedings against his three-year sentence on corruption charges.
This sentence has effectively disqualified him from participating in national elections.
The ex-international cricket icon had been arrested at his residence on Saturday (5) and taken to jail, with allegations that he has previously labelled as being politically motivated.
His legal team has faced obstacles in obtaining access to him at Attock Jail, a penitentiary with a century-old history located on the outskirts of the historic city of Attock, situated approximately 60 km (40 miles) to the west of the capital, Islamabad.
On Monday, formal petitions were lodged with the Islamabad and Lahore High Courts, seeking the authorisation of power of attorney for the imprisoned former leader. Such authorisation would grant his legal representatives the ability to contest his conviction through legal channels.
Furthermore, a separate petition has been submitted to advocate for Khan’s placement in an ‘A-class’ cell. These cells, typically reserved for high-profile inmates, offer enhanced comfort compared to other accommodations.
At a court hearing Khan did not attend Saturday, a judge found him guilty of graft in relation to gifts he received while prime minister and sentenced him to three years in jail.
Anyone convicted of a criminal offence is disqualified from contesting elections in Pakistan, and prime minister Shehbaz Sharif said Sunday that parliament would likely be dissolved on Wednesday — days ahead of the end of its natural term.
This would give the incoming interim government until mid-November to hold an election, but there is already speculation it could be delayed following the release Saturday of the country’s latest census data.
Law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar told a local television channel that constituencies would have to be redrawn according to the new census, warning there could be a delay to polls of up to two and a half months.
Khan’s arrest and detention for three days in connection with the same case in May sparked deadly violence when his supporters took to the streets in the tens of thousands, clashing with police.
But a massive crackdown by the authorities that saw thousands of PTI supporters rounded up – some still in prison – and a muzzling of the press has vastly diminished his street power, even if his popularity remains high.