ISLAMABAD - Senate Standing Committee on Interior Monday directed the Ministry of Interior to implement its earlier directives to bifurcate women jails from men’s in order to provide safe environment to female inmates in the country’s jails.

The committee that met under the chairmanship of Senator A Rehman Malik gave these directions following Senator Kalsoom Parveen raised the issue saying neither the women inmates were being treated appropriately nor being provided with food and other special needs in jails.

In his directions, Senator Rehman Malik said the committee had already asked the ministry to bifurcate the women jails from men’s. He added that jail manuals were neither implemented in true letter and spirit nor being updated according to the needs of changing times.

He directed that all the provincial home secretaries to submit a detailed report on the condition of jails in their respective provinces and send their proposals to reform jail manuals. The chairman decided that jail reforms need to be brought in the form of a bill so that it is all encompassing and applicable throughout the country.

Committee also demands shifting of Zardar’s cases to Karachi

The meeting also condemned the unprecedented brutalities by Indian Forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir and the 121-day long curfew in the valley.

It decided to send a reminder to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs its earlier recommendations to “take the issue up with International Criminal Court (ICC) and International Court of Justice (ICJ) and declaring Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a war criminal.”

The meeting separately passed a resolution seeking shifting of former President Asif Ali Zardari’s cases from Islamabad to Karachi. Senator Rehman Malik converted the demand of Senator Kulsoom Parveen into a resolution and passed it with a majority vote.

He said the committee had taken suo-moto notice about the health of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Zardari and had urged the government to allow him to get medical treatment from his personal doctor. He added that on November 30, the committee was informed that his personal physician has been included in the medical board.

He further said all the family members of Zardari were residing in Karachi—a solid reason to shift him from Islamabad to Karachi. Moreover, there is no legal justification that he could be tried at a place other than his home city.

The committee discussed in detail the “Islamabad Pure Food Authority Bill, 2019” introduced by Senator Sajjad Hussain Turi and passed it after increasing the punishment from six months to 3 years and including all amendments proposed by the ministry pertaining to administrative aspects of the authority. The lawmakers appreciated the bill and termed it the need of the hour in face of the ever increasing reports of hazardous food items being imported, sold and supplied across the country.

While discussing the actions taken so far with reference to 70 Pakistanis stranded in Iraq who went there through fake agents, Senator Malik informed that he had taken the notice of the issue and had directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Bureau of Emigration (BoE) to take stringent actions against fake overseas employment agents and those officers of the bureau involved in such criminal activities.

The committee discussed the overall situation of poverty and loose administration that lead the people getting in the trap of fake the agents. The meeting discussed the stranded Pakistanis in Turkey saying the country serves as a gateway for Europe and was told that 3700 Pakistanis have been verified while stranding in Turkey.

The chair directed that the these stranded Pakistanis should be brought and back, verification of these people as well as formulating a mechanism to handle our porous border more efficiently should be ensured to save innocent lives.

The director general Bureau of Emigration informed the committee that 21 licenses of illegal importers have been cancelled and 40 suspended besides blocking fake advertisements. He said that three countries including Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have so far been approached to link their data management with Pakistan and more countries would be approached.

The Committee also took up the matter of the centres of National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) that were closed-down abroad.

The meeting was informed that four overseas centres have been closed on orders of Supreme Court while remaining 10 centres were functioning. The chair directed Nadra to propose an amendment in NADRA Ordinance to establish authority’s office in any foreign country with more than 20,000 Pakistani diaspora living there.

About the issue of Kashana Welfare Homes Lahore’s former superintendent allegations that 25 orphan girls were forcibly married in five years, the chair constituted a sub-committee to probe the matter and asked to submit a report.