Authorities at the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi on Monday allowed a man convicted in aiding the 2009 terrorist attack on the army general headquarters (GHQ) to meet his family.
Subsequently, convict Imran Siddiq’s brother withdrew a petition from the Lahore High Court (LHC) after the jail superintendent told the court that the family would be allowed to meet Siddiq twice every fortnight.
Siddiq, a sepoy dispenser, was shifted to the Adiala Jail after he was sentenced to life imprisonment and terminated from service for being involved in the October 2009 attack on GHQ, with six other men.
Family members of Siddiq, including his father, mother, brother, wife, two sisters and a maternal uncle, filed a petition with the LHC Rawalpindi bench on August 31 after Adiala Jail officials had prohibited them from meeting him. They said that jail authorities had asked them to get Punjab home secretary’s permission.
Justice Sardar Tariq Masood disposed of the petition after Punjab’s additional advocate-general (AAG) said that under the current law, jail authorities had no right to stop families from meeting any convict.
The petitioners argued that being a civil prisoner, officials at the prison had no authority to prevent the convict from meeting visitors. They added that the jail authorities did not need to be given directions or suggestions when there were clear rules and regulations regarding meetings with convicted men.
Meanwhile, Siddiq – who served in the 44 Corps Composite Transport Battalion – has challenged the August 11 verdict of Field General Court Marshal against him. He was convicted under the Pakistan Army Act for approaching a prohibited area of the GHQ, being party to a criminal conspiracy for terrorism, aiding the act of terrorism, desertion on active service and losing by neglect government equipment and clothing.
Seven people were convicted by the military court on August 11. The court had sentenced sepoy Aqeel alias Muhammad Usman to death; Khaliqur Rehman, Muhammad Usman and Wajid Ali to life-time imprisonment and Muhamamd Admana and Tahir Shafique to 10 years imprisonment.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2011.