ISLAMABAD-Ministry of Human Rights on Friday recommended establishing separate cells for transgender persons and people with disabilities in jails to cover their needs. A statement issued by the ministry that Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari chaired the meeting of commission formed by Islamabad High Court on jail reforms to finalise its report.

It said that while chairing the meeting of commission, Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari said there should be separate cells for transgender persons and people with disabilities to cater to their needs.

She also instructed the participants to operationalise the recommendations in their respective provinces.

Secretary of Ministry of Human Rights Rabiya Javeri Agha briefed the participants about the recommendations of report. She highlighted that recommendations are based on Nelson Mandela guidelines adopted by UN and Bangkok rules which deals with female prisoners.

The main recommendations included capacity building of staff of prisons and appointment of medical staff of prisons at vacant seat. The report will be submitted to Islamabad High Court before 18th January 2020.

The meeting was attended by Mr. Iqbal Hussain Special Secretary Home, Home Department Punjab, Mr. Babar Qadeer, Additional Secretary, Home Department Sindh, Mirza Shahid Saleem Baig, Punjab Prison, Asghar Ali Deputy Secretary, Ministry of National Health Services, Mr. Muhammad Arshad Director General Ministry of Human Rights, Col. Taj Sultan, Additional Inspector General Prison Khyber Pukhtoonkhawa, Mr. Syed Hammed Ullah, Additional Inspector General Prisons Baluchistan, Dr. Tariq Additional Secretary, Ministry of Interior and Mr. Irfan Bashir, Ministry of Human Rights.

The Commission was formed on the writ petition filed by Khadim Hussain, currently a prisoner at the Central Jail Adiala, Rawalpindi, before the Islamabad High Court after he suffered vision loss during the course of his sentence due to failure and negligence of prison authorities.

After hearing the plight of the prisoner, the High Court constituted a commission to be chaired by the Minister of Human Rights to look into the following areas (the terms of reference): to investigate human rights violations in the prisons of Pakistan and lack of medical assistance and obstacles in access to a court of law of prisoners who do not have means or assistance in this regard; to investigate failure on part of the executive authorities and respective governments to fulfil obligations and enforce the Prison Rules and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 relating to prisoners who suffer from illness and diseases; to carry out a review of the prison rules and other relevant laws with the object of fulfilling the commitments of the State of Pakistan under the Constitution, international treaties and conventions.

The commission comprised of Federal Minister of Human Rights (Chairperson), Secretary Ministry of Interior, Secretary Ministry of Health, Former Chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Journalist Mr. Ghazi Shahabuddin, Advocate Supreme Court Mr. Zia Awan, Mr. Tariq Khosa, former director general Federal Investigation Agency, the provincial chief secretaries and secretary Ministry of Human Rights.