Status of women, children in jails reviewed

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APP40-23 LAHORE: January 23 - Federal Ombudsman Salman Farooqui addressing during a meeting with officials of National Commission for Children and Federal Ombudsman Pakistan at NIPA Office. APP photo by Zahid Chaudhry

LAHORE, Jan 23 (APP): The Federal Ombudsman Secretariat here on Monday held a special meeting to review the status of women and children in jails across the country.
Federal Ombudsman Salman Faruqui chaired the meeting whereas former law minister S.M. Zafar was guest of honour on the occasion.
Addressing the meeting, Federal Ombudsman Salman Faruqui emphasised the need for making such committee whose members could visit jails at any time. He said that many philanthropists wanted to support the cause of prisoners but they did not have trust that there aid would be delivered to the prisoners. He stressed the need for structuring the use of funds and items received from the philanthropists to eliminate these fears.
S.M. Zafar appreciated services of Salman Faruqui as federal ombudsman and said that he gave a new direction to the institution.
He urged the provincial representatives to ask the governments for adopting a more positive attitude on fundamental rights. If any body wanted to work for the cause of prisoners then question of provincialism should not be raised, he added.
He said that there was no shortage of people who were interested in serving the society but they need opportunity for the purpose.
He laid stress on the need for reforming jail culture saying that prisoners became even worse when they came out of the jails. He said that many children were imprisoned along with their mothers and serious efforts were required in that context.
He said the situation would not get better by making laws alone rather implementing them.
Former provincial minister and social activist, Shaheen Ateeq ur Rehman said that women prisoners should be divided into categories for improving their conditions. She further pointed out, lack of sanitation facilities in jails for women prisoners besides overcrowded prisons were the causes of their problems.
Social Activist Begum Jaan briefed the meeting about difficulties being faced by women and children in FATA Jails.
Nasreen said that juvenile friendly systems should be introduced in jails and regular inspections should also be carried out.
Malik Asif Riaz said that efforts were being made to improve the quality of skill imparted to juveniles in jails with the cooperation of the Comsat University. However, jails were overcrowded and urgent steps were required in this direction.
DIG Jail, Rawalpindi, Mirza Shahid Saleem Baig apprised the meeting regarding steps taken for the improvement of jails. He said that since the Supreme Court took suo motu notice in 2006, new jails have been constructed. He said the government had approved two more jails in the province and after their completion, the prison overcrowded ratio would drop further. He said that many new facilities had been introduced for the children in jails.
He said that lady doctors were appointed in jails and now there was no any shortage of medicines and other facilities in the jails.
However, he admitted that there were problems in production of prisoners as juveniles and adults were being produced before the courts together. He said that 19 jails had been exempted from
load shedding whereas generator facility was available in rest of the jails.
Superintendent Peshawar Jail M Masood also briefed the meeting about steps taken for the improvement of jail. He said that separate jails should be constructed for women and children to improve the situation.
Director General Welfare department Punjab Waheed Ansari briefed the meeting about various programmes initiated for the children and the women in various jails across the Punjab.
However, the ombudsman asked the DG to monitor and evaluate programmes launched by various organisation in the jails.
Barrister Ali Zafar apprised the committee about pending proceedings in the Apex Court and said that the bench had asked the ombudsman to forward recommendation for improving situation in jails.