1,121 out of total 73,242 prisoners are female in Pakistan: Report

ISLAMABAD, Aug 27 (APP):Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari has presented “Plight of Women in Pakistan’s Prisons Report” to Prime Minister Imran Khan the other day.
The report compiles key observations and recommendations in terms of legislative, policy and training reforms needed to protect the rights of female prisoners in the country, said a human rights ministry press release issued here on Thursday.

On May 29, 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan constituted a Committee to study and investigate the plight of women in Pakistan’s prisons. The Committee was chaired by the Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari and had to submit the report to prime minister within a period of four months.

Other Committee members included Secretary Ministry of Human Rights (Secretary), Secretary Ministry of Interior, Home Secretary of Punjab, Home Secretary of Sindh, Home Secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Home Secretary of Balochistan, Home Secretary of Gilgit Baltistan, Inspector General Prisons Punjab, Inspector General Prisons Sindh, Inspector General Prisons Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Inspector General Prisons Balochistan, Inspector General Prisons Gilgit Baltistan, Barrister Sarah Belal (Justice Project Pakistan), and Haya Emaan Zahid (Legal Aid Society.)

The report highlights critical need to reduce the proportion of Under Trial Prisoners; develop sentencing alternatives and non-custodial measures for female prisoners; as well as to improve living conditions and education and rehabilitation programmes in female prisons and barracks across the country.

Besides that, it recommends fast-tracking the revision of Prison Rules, reviewing of individual cases of human rights violations and humanitarian needs, training of staff, combating issues of mental health and developing post release programmes.

The official data received by the Committee shows that 1,121 out of total 73,242 prisoners in Pakistan are female which makes 1.5 per cent of the prison population. Punjab has 727 women prisoners, Sindh has 205, KPK has 166, Balochistan has 20 and Gilgit has total three women prisoners. 66.7 per cent of the total female prison population in Pakistan consists of Under Trial Prisoners.

Additionally, there are a total of 134 female prisoners who have children residing with them. The total number of children in prisons is 195. There are 46 female senior citizen prisoners and 10 female juveniles in total with approximately 300 prisoners detained away from their home districts.

There are a total of 24 female medical workers available to cater to the health and nutrition needs of these female prisoners in addition to visiting doctors from nearby DHQs.
The Committee collected primary data through two rounds of questionnaires and conducted a comprehensive literature review of available research.

To evaluate the adherence of provincial prison rules to internationally recognized standards for the treatment of women prisons, the Committee used Bangkok Rules 2010 as a standard guideline.