PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister’s Adviser on Prisons Malik Qasim Khan said on Thursday that overcrowding in jails of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was a big challenge to overcome but the PTI-led provincial government was not oblivious to it and tackled it effectively.
The chief minister’s adviser mentioned scores of schemes and reforms initiated by the KP government during the last four years to improve the conditions of the jails and its inmates.
The KP’s jails reforms mainly focused on overcoming problems of overcrowding in the central jails and improving food and hygienic conditions to provide better living conditions to imamates, he added.
However, a lot needs to be done still to make jails welfare oriented so that prisoners can become good citizens after completion of their jail terms.
To address the problem of overcrowding in jails, he said that new jails and blocks in old central jails in different districts of the province were being constructed. Besides this, computerisation of jail and prisoners record for quick disposal of cases was being done, he added.
Qasim said that the first phase of construction of new jails in Peshawar has been completed and the new jails would be opened next month.
Under the first phase, he said, new blocks in central jail Peshawar were constructed that would enhance accommodation capacity for inmates to 3000 from existing 425.
Work on the second and third phases would start soon under which residential quarters, guard rooms and offices for employees of Central Jail Peshawar would be constructed.
Qasim said that Pakistan’s first high-security prison having three-layered security had been constructed in Mardan and high profile prisoners of Central Jail Peshawar, Lower Dir and Swat were shifted to it, adding that the prison force was equipped with latest gadgets and equipment. The overall performance of prison force has been improved and it has restored the confidence of masses, he said.
Moreover, zero tolerance against corruption was adopted in prison department and a policy of punishment and reward system was introduced, he said. Qasim further said that high-security zones and cells in different jails of KP were being constructed to keep high-profile prisoners separate from other prisoners. These high-security zones and cells are being set up at six jails in Mardan, Timergara, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat and Karak. Work on central jail in Abbtottabad is almost completed and high-profile prisoners in Manshera, Haripur and others jails would be shifted to it.
Construction of central jail in Swat has been planned and work on it would be started soon while expansion work in Dera Ismail Khan Prison was almost completed, he said.
Computerisation of jail records has been started and all the data of prisoners of Central Jail Peshawar has been computerized, he added. A state-of-the-art training academy has also been set up in Haripur for the provision of training and capacity-building of Prison Department Force.