Pakistan government submits details, photos of ex-PM Khan's life in jail

FILE PHOTO: Former Pakistani PM Imran Khan speaks with Reuters during an intervew, in Lahore

By Asif Shahzad

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) -Pakistan's government submitted to the Supreme Court on Thursday details of the living conditions of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan, seeking to rebuff his claim of mistreatment and of being held in solitary confinement without access to lawyers.

The government submission seen by Reuters included photographs of the cell that showed a collection of books including Nelson Mandela's autobiography "Long Walk to Freedom", apparently intended to highlight Khan's freedom to read what he wishes in jail.

The submission also contained a list of family and friends, lawyers and party members who have seen Khan since he was jailed in August last year on corruption charges. Khan, 71, is also fighting dozens of other cases that he and his party say are politically motivated to thwart his return to power.

The government asked the court in its submission to appoint a judicial officer to verify the facts.

Khan complained to the court last week that he was being kept in solitary confinement without access to his lawyers.

In an appearance before the court via video-link later on Thursday, Khan asked Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa to have his cell conditions inspected.

Isa said he would appoint a commission to pay a surprise visit to the prison cell.

Khan's party stood by its claim that he had been mistreated, and added that the pictures included were of the cell where Khan was being kept in solitary confinement.

"It is a contradiction to the claim that a former prime minister is entitled to an A class cell with an air-conditioned room & a helper to attend to the errands," his party said in response to the submission.

The pictures in the government submission showed a messy bedroom with a study table, a chair, a single bed, a cooler, a washbasin next to a washroom in the corner, with a flat TV screen hung on a wall. It shows shirts thrown on the back of the chair and trousers, pants and a towel hung on a wall.

Another picture shows a long walkway with a barracks on both sides, describing it as an "exclusive gallery for walk, twice a day." Another shows what it says is a separate kitchen with condiments, one more showed a collection of books on Islam, history and politics, and other pictures show a room with an exercise bike and fitness equipment.

(Reporting by Asif Shahzad and Islamabad Bureau; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Gareth Jones)