ISLAMABAD: In line with a Supreme Court (SC) order issued in April, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he has directed the authorities to take steps for the release of under-trail and convicted female prisoners.
The premier issued the directions after a meeting with the Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari, the attorney general and Barrister Ali Zafar, he said in a two-part tweet.
“I have asked for immediate implementation of SC order 299/2020 for release of under-trial women prisoners and convicted women prisoners who fulfil criteria of SC order,” PM Imran tweeted.
The premier also asked for “immediate reports on foreign women prisoners and women on death row for humanitarian consideration”.
Human Rights Minister Mazari called the prime minister’s decision a “great move forward for human rights and humanitarian approach to prisoners”.
“This is just the start. PM has asked for a complete timeline on prison reforms implementation — our report on prison reforms is ready & now going to prepare implementation timelines with Barrister Ali Zafar,” Mazari added in a tweet.
The prime minister’s directions are about an interim order issued in April, in which the apex court had engaged the government to release prisoners suffering from a physical or mental illness, under-trial prisoners who are 55 or older, male under-trial prisoners who have not been convicted in the past, and female and juvenile prisoners.
In April, the SC had recalled bails granted to prisoners by the high courts of Sindh and Islamabad to evacuate over-crowded prisons and avoid a coronavirus outbreak. Nevertheless, it allowed the government to release those prisoners who matched the aforesaid conditions.
The counsel of the attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) had spared the prisoners included in the above categories. The AGP had also recommended the apex court to not offer bail to prisoners who had been indicted in “cases involving abuse/violent acts against children and women”.