LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday sought reports by August 5 from the Punjab government in two writ petitions regarding substandard medicines supplied for prisoners and crowding beyond jail capacity.
In his report, the jail superintendent submitted that Asghar Ali, an inmate sick with hepatitis, was treated free of cost. He said all the relevant tests had been conducted during the last two weeks and the treatment was now underway.
He said inmates, with serious illness, are referred to the District Headquarter Hospital (DHQ) while doctors visit the jail fortnightly to examine the prisoners. He said the jail hospital is equipped with ultra-sound, Electro Cardiogram (ECG) and X-ray facilities.
“Besides ayurvedic and homeopathic medicines are also available,” he added.
The petitioner’s lawyer, Muhammad Azhar Siddiq, interrupted the superintendant’s claim saying that his client, Asghar, had spent three days in jail during the lawyers’ movement. He quoted his client as saying that there were heaps of garbage everywhere and the food and medicines were sub-standard.
Jail’s medical officer, also appearing before the court, admitted that up to 500 inmates are sick with hepatitis. They are being treated though, he added. The petitioner prayed that the court direct the jail authorities to treat all inmates equally in accordance with the Articles 9, 27, 37 and 38 of the Constitution.
Justice Ijaz Chaudhary also sought reply from the Punjab government in a petition seeking transfer of prisoners to other jails.
Petitioner Rida Qazi submitted that the Lahore district jail had 4,500 inmates against its capacity of only 1,050. She said inmates held over minor charges were not being released as they could not arrange for surety bonds. The petition said there were no medical facilities for mentally ill patients and drug addicts.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2010.
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