Federal Ombudsman seeks report on prison reforms till December 27

Federal Ombudsman’s Senior Law Adviser Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmad Khokhar has sent a letter to the chief secretaries...


Shabbir Hussain December 22, 2019
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Ombudsman has sought a report from chief secretaries of all the four provinces till December 27 on the implementation of its recommendations on prison reforms.

In this regard, Federal Ombudsman’s Senior Law Adviser Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmad Khokhar has sent a letter to the chief secretaries concerned, according to sources.

It states that the ombudsman has to submit a report on the implementation of recommendations on prison reforms to the Supreme Court (SC) later this month.

The ombudsman has already submitted four reports to the SC on prison reforms. As per the senior law adviser, in 2015, the top court on a suo motu notice on prisoner problems and lack of facilities in prisons had tasked the Federal Ombudsman with preparing recommendations for prison reforms.

Acting upon the orders, the authority submitted its recommendations to the SC that was approved and an order was issued to ensure its implementation along with submission of a progress report in every three months.

In its report, the ombudsman had recommended that the provincial governments should set up separate jails in all districts with portions for women and minors, including appropriate facilities in accordance with hygiene principles and adequate space for sleeping.

Ombudsman calls for expediting jail reforms process

The ombudsman also called for compilation of computerised data of all prisoners – especially women and children in jails – and regular updating of the information and biometric verification with the National Database and Registration Authority.

It was suggested that the Higher Education Commission and National Vocational and Technical Training Commission should provide facilities to impart education and training, including free books, libraries to prisoners so that they too could study.

Further, the ombudsman had recommended improvement of the transportation system to ensure the presence of under-trial prisoners in the courts while stressing the need for steps to improve the situation in the ‘Bakshi Khanas’.

The ombudsman had recommended that the prisoner’s relatives be given the opportunity to visit the prisoners once a week, while ensuring that all possible facilities for visiting families should be provided including chairs, drinking water and toilet.

Moreover, it has been recommended that a provincial and session committee be constituted to assess the situation of all the prisons that will submit review reports to the Law and Justice Commission, Advocate General and Provincial Ombudsman prisons to reduce space issue in the jails and to reduce the number of prisoners on parole.

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