What facilities do Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif have in prison?

Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif enjoy B-class facilities

Amin Hafeez

Life behind bars is hard, but high-profile inmates in Pakistan are granted perks and facilities not available to other prisoners.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the former President Asif Ali Zardari are allowed to have their daily medicines delivered to them in prison. Sharif is serving a seven-year sentence due to corruption charges. He is incarcerated at the Central Jail in Lahore. While Zardari, who is yet to be convicted, was taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection to a money-laundering probe. He is currently lodged at the Central Jail in Rawalpindi.

According to those privy to developments, both former leaders enjoy B-class facilities and are allowed to meet their family members and lawyers once a week.

However, on the request of the medical board, monitoring the health of the ex-prime minister, Sharif has had an air conditioner installed in his cell.

Zardari does not enjoy this perk. Even though last week, an accountability court in Islamabad directed jail authorities to provide an air conditioner to Zardari, but only after approval from a medical officer.

Zardari’s legal counsel, as per jail sources, also requested that he be allowed to use an iPad in prison to listen to recitations of the Holy Quran. However, referring to the jail manual, the request was officially denied.

Under Pakistan’s Prison Rules 1978, B-class facilities are granted to prisoners who are “accustomed to a better mode of life and have had a degree of bachelors in science of computing and information systems.” Such inmates, according to the rules, are “accustomed to superior mode of living”.