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Baby girl gets jail under FCR

ISLAMABAD – A two-year-old girl is among the many tribal people serving jail terms in NWFP under the Draconian Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), Interior Ministry records show.

Zarmeena, daughter of Qadir Jan, was arrested on April 5 on the charge of violating Section 40 of the FCR. She was convicted the same day and transported to the Central Prison, Haripur, to serve “three years rigorous imprisonment”.

Her seven-year-old sister, Wazir Azam, is also serving the same term in the same prison with her mother Hukam Jana (32) under the notorious law handed down by the British colonialists more than 100 years ago.

Under the FCR, the political agent can arrest any person in the tribal area and put them behind the bars for three years without any right to appeal. The term can be extended for another three years.

The same section also allows the political agent to seal any business centre and arrest any tribal even from the settled area governed by the provincial government for anything offensive in his eyes committed by the tribal or his fellow tribesmen.

The Interior Ministry records show that a number of children below the age of 18 are languishing in jails under the FCR and its section 40 that has been described as a Draconian law by the human rights organisations across the country.

On April 5, 2004, three-year-old Zul Bibi, daughter of Angoor Khan, was arrested under 40 FCR and sentenced to “three years rigorous imprisonment” the same day. Her six-year-old sister Zarmeena, was awarded the same punishment. Both are lodged in Haripur Jail.

The other children are eight-year-old Islam Bibi, lodged in Haripur jail, and 11-year-old Gul Zaram Jana, lodged in Dera Ismail Khan Jail. Interestingly, the much-trumpeted Juvenile Justice System Ordinance of July 1, 2000, that protects and promotes the rights of all under-18 children facing criminal charges, does not cover the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

According to the records, a number of women were also arrested and convicted under the FCR this year. These women prisoners include Dur Jana (30), wife of Hameedullah, Bulbala (25), wife of Sher Nawaz, and Gul Sahaba (50), wife of Saidullah Jan.

All are being kept in Dera Ismail Khan Central Prison. Some under-trial women arrested under the FCR are also being kept in the same prison. They include Sheerana Bibi (35), wife of Pakistan, Mukhtiar Bibi (26), wife of Batoor, Taj Bibi (36), wife of Gul Marjan, and Adarmanai Bibi (45), wife of Gul Khajan. In the Peshawar Central Jail, Marjana, 40, wife of Lal Makhan, is undergoing three-year RI. She was convicted on March 18, this year under FCR.

Source: Dawn

Date:10/4/2004

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