I just read a most serious report by HRCP (Humane Right Commission of Pakistan) about the pitiable condition of women prisoners, in English daily, which shocked me. The HRCP report stated that there are around 1,100 women prisoners in Pakistan jails and they are not being treated well. The women prisoners are living in most deplorable conditions. There is no lady doctor in the Lahore women’s jail, for instance. Similarly, there is no separate section for juvenile girls.
There are no proper toilets and bathrooms in the women jails. It is a matter of great surprise that the height of walls of the bath rooms is hardly three to four feet high. There are no barbers for women prisoners as well. They are living in conditions worse than the animals in zoo. The government seriously has to consider the long term repercussions of this treatment of women. Most have cases pending in courts with no speedy justice, and the law saying that one is guilty until proven innocent, these women could be innocent and still in prisons. Does Islam teach us to treat our women like this? The state needs to play a role and take steps when any prisoner, be it man or woman, is in prison for longer than a certain time period, the state should look into the case and give a verdict. Is there no law in Pakistan?
There should be better conditions for them and a program to improve their skills, so that they don’t become a burden on the society. Their basic rights should be given to them and summary courts should be setup for the decision of their long pending cases of minor natures, while women involved in serious crimes should be kept in a separate jail.
It is requested that separate jails should be constructed for women in all big cities of Pakistan and special jails for juvenile girls as well. These jails should be under educated women police officers and jailers and full human rights should be provided to all women prisoners. It is also requested that a committee of well educated women should be constituted for random and surprised checks to these jails to keep them on their toes and maintain some semblance of humane order.
RAJA GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN
Rawalpindi, April 25.