By Atif Nadeem
LAHORE: Most women prisoners were subjected to physical abuse during interrogations by police, says a survey conducted by the AGHS Legal Aid Cell Team while visiting different jails. According to the survey, female prisoners constitute 1.4 percent of the total prisoners held in the Punjab jails with 876 adults and five juveniles. Over 67 per cent of them are under trial.
The Punjab has the highest number of under-trial prisoners in Pakistan. Official statistics show that 1,225,879 cases remain pending in the subordinate courts with 144,942 in Sindh, 187,441 in the NWFP and 7,664 in Balochistan. The National Judicial Policy has stressed to grant bails to under-trials, issuing directions to give priority to the disposal of women and juvenile cases.
At least, 80 per cent women prisoners are unaware of the status of their legal proceedings and 35 per cent have not engaged lawyers, says the survey. It adds at least 70 per cent of female prisoners are illiterate. Only six per cent made allegations of abuse by jail authorities. Over 48 per cent of women prisoners are accused of murder and 0.5 percent convicted to death, it says.
The survey maintains that 30 percent are accused of under Control of Narcotics Substance Act 1997). The rest of the women are accused of Zina and other minor offences. Five juvenile female prisoners are under trial in murder cases as well.
Source: The News