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Women & juvenile prisoners

Letter to the editor…

On a short visit to the special prison for women – (youthful offenders and juvenile school) in Karachi’s central prison – one was alarmed at the problems experienced by the common people, and especially women, in our society.

Most of the helpless under-trial prisoners and convicts allege that they are first assaulted, victimized, degraded and then falsely indicted by the police for kidnapping, theft or zina, etc.

In my view, notwithstanding the crime rate and unabated terrorism, it is time the police realized that women are also an integral part of our society and deserve due respect.

The ongoing malpractices such as abuse of power, assault, illegal detention, wrongful restraint, torture and harassment, etc, meted out to the poor and particularly to the womenfolk by the police must immediately be stopped.

I would like to draw the attention of the chief justice of Pakistan and other authorities concerned towards the plight of women prisoners who have been falsely booked by the police and, as a result, are either waiting for their fate to be decided or serving sentence for no fault of theirs for several years in jails.

I would request that the innocent and helpless victims of unjust indictment must be released forthwith and immediate action must be taken against the oppressors (investigation officers and others).

In case the prosecution fails to establish a case on reasonable grounds or where the competent court on its own findings or on the merits of the case gives the benefit of the doubt to the accused and comes to a just conclusion, it should without any further delay or adjournment pass an order for acquittal while taking the real culprits to task.

Furthermore, by virtue of Article 203 of the Constitution, directives should be issued to the chief justice of the provinces to help all pending cases of prolonged litigation in their jurisdiction and the courts below to be disposed of judiciously and expeditiously.

Munawer Awan

Source: Dawn