ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro emphasized upon the need for improvement in the Human Rights situation in the country to protect the innocent citizens besides the fact that it is directly related to the image of the country.Talking to the caretaker Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burney, who met him at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat here on Thursday, Soomro directed the Ministry of Human Rights to make concerted efforts to suggest measures to stop human trafficking.
The Prime Minister was perturbed to learn about the conditions in different jails in Pakistan and directed the concerned ministry to take immediate measures to improve the environments and living conditions of the prisoners. He said that besides improving the condition of living quarters, the toilets and surrounding areas also need to be upgraded. He also directed that the food for prisoners be improved qualitatively and they be given proper skills training so as to become useful citizens after release from prisons.
He also directed the Ministry of Human Right to prepare a comprehensive Reforms Plans for all the jails. He said that each and every jail should have a Reform Center inside the compounds in order to inculcate moral and ethical values to the inhabitants. He said that NGOs should also be involved in this exercise to make these efforts more fruitful and constructive.
The Prime Minister said that Reform and Education Centers for children living in jails with their mothers be established urgently to cater for their education and proper upbringing. He also asked for special facilities for women prisoners according to their needs. The jails for women prisoners, he said, should be completely separated from the jails for male prisoners.
He also directed the Minister for Human Rights to collect particulars and details about all the prisoners serving sentences in different jails and prepare a database in this regard. He asked for suggestions on possibilities for release of prisoners involved in petty crimes. He also asked for speedy trails of prisoners living in pathetic conditions in the death cells whose appeals are pending since long.
The Prime Minister asked for immediate submission of report about an eight-year old child serving sentence on charges of abduction for ransom in one of the jails. The Prime Minister paid Rs. 10,000 from his own pocket for the release of another child aged 12 years who had completed his jail sentence on October 1, 2007 but did not have money to pay the fine.
Earlier, the Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burney apprised the Prime Minister about his visits to different jails in Pakistan in an effort to collect information and listen to the complaints. He informed that his Ministry had already started preparing a database containing details about the prisoners and their period of sentence. He also mentioned that a report is also being prepared suggesting means to improve conditions for prisoners particularly the women prisoners. The report would also suggest measures to completely separate the women jails from the male prison houses.
The Minister further informed that besides establishing the Reforms Centers, the Ministry is taking steps to open up schools for Children in jails accompanying their mothers. The Minister also informed the Prime Minister that a majority of jails in Pakistan are over crowded since there has been no expansion or improvement of these compounds since long. The facilities in the jails, he said, had deteriorated over a period of time and no attention was paid to improve the facilities. The condition of prisoners in the death cells, he added, is pathetic and a number of inmates are waiting for decisions on their appeals pending for the last 25 to 30 years.-SANA