WAFAQI MOHTASIB (OMBUDSMAN)’S SECRETARIAT ISLAMABAD

Islamabad, the 12th March, 2019

PRESS RELEASE

  • ONE PSYCHIATRIC & DOCTOR MUST BE APPOINTED IN EVERY JAIL IN PAKISTAN.
  • PRISONS REFORMS RECOMMENDATIONS MUST BE IMPLEMENTED IN LETTER & SPIRIT.
  • EDUCATIONAL MEASURES FOR CHILDREN IN JAILS BE TAKEN ON PRIORITY.

(Syed Tahir Shahbaz, Federal Ombudsman)

    Syed Tahir Shahbaz, Federal Ombudsman has asked the Prisons/Home departments of Punjab to accelerate the progress of implementation in jail reforms recommendations.  He was chairing a high level meeting on the progress of implementation of Jail Reforms Recommendations.  Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmed Khokhar, Senior Adviser informed in a presentation that in 89 jails of Pakistan there are 56353 sanctioned prisoners, whereas, 78160 prisoners are present in these jails. He also informed that in these jails, 25195 prisoners are convicted, 48780 under-trial, 1955 women prisoners, 1225 juvenile prisoners and 4688 were condemned prisoners.  Earlier, the Federal Ombudsman had ordered all the provinces to constitute District Oversight Committees (DOC) in each district comprising the renowned members from all walks of life to monitor the implementation measures ordered by the Apex Court.  Under these reforms & recommendations, the provinces were asked for the improvement of life of prisoners in jails especially for children, women and destitute/resource-less prisoners.

            The rep. of Home department Punjab informed that they are working to finalize the TORs and SOP for the members of DOCs and in this respect prisons rules are being modified for their visits in jails.  The Federal Ombudsman asked them to accelerate the progress in implementation of jail reforms recommendations in letter & spirit.  He said that he will not endure the callous attitude of the Prisons and Home departments of Punjab towards implementation of such recommendations, as he has to submit a quarterly implementation report in the apex court.  He directed them to submit the TORs and SOP in his office within a week and finalize it within 15 days.  He said that all the recommendations to constitute DOCs were framed after consultations of all the IG Prisons, therefore, no delay in implementation of jail reforms recommendations would be accepted.  He also said that no hindrance would be accepted in the visit of the members of DOCs in jails.  The representatives of KPK, Sind and IG Prisons Baluchistan informed that they had constituted the DOCs and they had also received the reports of their first visits.  The Ombudsman asked them to submit the reports of the visits of DOCs by 15th March, positively.  Syed Tahir Shahbaz said that he wants improvement in the life of prisoners at all costs.  The rep. of the KPK informed that they had appointed one Psychiatric in all jails.  The Ombudsman asked the reps. of the other provinces to replicate the action of KPK government and appoint a Psychiatric in each jail.  The rep. of Punjab government informed that they have formulated the Juvenile Justice System Act in Punjab under which separate juvenile courts would be established and all Juvenile jails in Punjab have been declared as schools.  On a question for construction of one jail in ever district by the Federal Ombudsman, the rep. of Punjab informed that the approval of construction of jails in Chakwal, Chiniot and Khushab have already been accorded and the construction process is underway.  He also informed that the construction of one more jail in Lahore & Rawalpindi has been approved.  The Senior Joint Secretary, Ministry of Interior also informed that the construction of Islamabad district jail is under construction.  Malik Muhammad Yousaf, IG Prisons Baluchistan portrayed a very horrible picture of the jails in Baluchistan and informed out of 11 jails, Much and Sibi jails are mud constructed, whereas, the Loralai jail was constructed in 1884.  He further informed that the health condition of prisoners in Baluchistan jails had also very poor and there are 181 HIV, HCV cases.  He said that there are only 14 prisoners of HIV in Gaddani jail.  He thanked the Federal Ombudsman that due to his personal efforts, two doctors have been appointed in Quetta and Much jails.  The rep. of KPK also informed that one doctor has been appointed in each jail of Khyber Pakhtunkhaw.  The Federal Ombudsman directed the reps. of all provinces to ensure the presence of doctors in jails and assured that medicines would be arranged with the help of philanthropists. 

On the issue of violence and harassment in jails, the rep. of Punjab informed that strict measures have been taken in this respect and two officials have been removed from service on such charges. Syed Tahir Shahbaz further directed the reps. of all provinces to ensure all steps recommended in the Prisons Reform Report in letter & spirit.