KARACHI: Two newlywed sisters, along with their spouses, met their brother at Karachi Central Jail on Thursday. The sisters wanted to share their happiness with their brother, Ghulam Mustafa, who could not attend the wedding festivities.
Mustafa, convicted for possession of illegal arms, is serving a five-year prison sentence.
While talking to The Express Tribune, jailer Saeed Soomro said that when Jail Superintendent Shah Nawaz Sand learned of the situation, he used his authority to arrange a meeting at his office. Sand also presented the couples with bouquets.
According to Soomro, many such meetings are arranged at Karachi Central Jail. In fact, once in Malir Jail, a Nikkah ceremony was also arranged.
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While imprisoned, inmates are unable to partake in many activities, including family gatherings. To facilitate them, a law exists under which they may be temporarily or permanently released before the expiry of their sentence, on the promise of good behaviour. To get parole, the prisoners must meet certain conditions and if they don't, they have to stay in jail.
The jail administration normally decides if the inmate is worthy of parole based on the severity of the cases and their overall behaviour in jail.
Federal Ombudsman Syed Tahir Shehbaz held a meeting on Thursday to discuss ways to improve jails in Sindh.
The meeting was attended by Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah, Sindh Advocate-General Salman Talibuddin, Interior Secretary Abdul Kabeer Kazi, Prisons IG Nusrat Manghan and other federal and provincial officers.
Shehbaz said that the inmates housed in the prisons in Sindh exceed the capacity by more than 3,000 and this creates problems. To resolve the issue, the chief secretary said that they have decided to build two more jails using the money allocated to them in the current budget. He added that there is a high-security jail building near Thatta for prisoners who are convicted of heinous crimes.
He said that Malir Jail will be expanded to accommodate more people. He added that in order to implement the federal ombudsman's suggestions, an oversight committee has been formed for all prisons of the province and these committees will visit the prisons and provide suggestions to the government for improvement.
The chief secretary said that the jail system would be computerised with the help of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).
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After this, he added, police, jail administration, prosecutor and the courts can easily gain information about any prisoner and the cases they are accused in. In this regard, 1,200 vacancies have been announced in the IT department of police.
Shah said that the Sindh government has passed Sindh Prisons and Correction Act and this fund would be used to provide prisoners education and health facilities and payments of diyat of needy prisoners.
The interior secretary said that the Sindh government has introduced various Acts for the welfare of prisoners which includes the provision of medication facilities to 88 HIV and 198 hepatitis patients.
The prisons IG said that education is also provided to the children of women prisoners and juveniles from class I to X.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2019.