Human Rights minister says government is preparing implementation timelines for prison reforms
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that he had directed officials concerned to expedite the process for the early release of under-trial and convicted women prisoners in accordance with relevant Supreme Court orders.
“After a meeting with the Ministry of Human Rights, the attorney general of Pakistan, and barrister Ali Zafar, I have asked for immediate implementation of SC order 299/2020 for release of under-trial women prisoners and convicted women prisoners who fulfill criteria of SC order,” he posted on Twitter. “I have also asked for immediate reports on foreign women prisoners and women on death row for humanitarian consideration,” he added.
The prime minister was referring to an interim order issued by the Supreme Court in April, in which the government was directed to release prisoners with physical or mental illnesses; under-trial prisoners who were 55 or older; male under-trial prisoners with no prior convictions; and female and juvenile prisoners.
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari praised the prime minister’s decision, saying it was a “great move forward for human rights and humanitarian approach to prisoners.” The meeting’s decision follows the ministry presenting its report on the ‘Plight of Women in Pakistan’s Prisons’ to the P.M. on Aug. 26.
“This is just the start,” she posted on Twitter. “[The] P.M. has asked for a complete timeline on prison reforms implementation—our report on prison reforms is ready and now going to prepare implementation timelines with barrister Ali Zafar,” she added.
Talking to local media, Zafar said all provinces had been directed to make arrangements to fulfill the prime minister’s directions. “All women and juvenile prisoners will be released except those sentenced in severe cases like murder,” he said.