I was really surprised to read that the Netherlands has closed its 19 prisons due to lack of criminals. The Dutch justice ministry announced the planned closing of more prisons in the Netherlands due to a declining crime rate. Many counties with low incarceration rates, typically take a different approach to criminal justice and their investment in social services. On the contrary, the over-crowding in jails of Pakistan is almost the single biggest problem. Pakistan’s flawed judicial system, which depends for its working on the inept functioning of a corrupt police force, and an equally dehumanized jail set-up. There are extremely cramped quarters, prisoners charged with petty crimes spending decades without anyone asking or caring.

There has been tremendous miscarriage of justice and one such example is Sohail Fida, a suspected who was brought to jail and tortured, he has survived death cell, he has written about the injustice of our judicial system in his fascinating book ‘Soul Unshackled.’ The book is an autobiographical account of a young man from Swat who lands in prison on false charges of murder and makes a confession, extracted through torture, when he was a juvenile. It is high time that we reformed our jail system and set the record right for innocent prisoners. There is great need for humanitarian workers, who have their work cut out, if they even touch the surface of our jails.


Hyderabad, December 11.