ISLAMABAD - Federal Ombudsman, Syed Tahir Shahbaz has said that Wafaqi Mohtasib office was making efforts to improve jails conditions, changing the mindset and to remove the irritants of criminal administrative justice system.

The Federal Ombudsman Secretariat presented its 7th quarterly implementation report on the progress of implementation in improving jails conditions of Pakistan to the Supreme Court, according to a press release issued on Thursday. In this regard, the Federal Ombudsman Syed Tahir Shahbaz held online meetings during the last quarter due to Corona pandemic, with the four provincial chief secretaries/relevant stakeholders i.e. Home Departments and IG Prisons of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhaw, Sindh and Balochistan and Ministry of Interior. The report was presented in the Supreme Court in Suo Motu Case No.1 of 2016 by the Secretary WMS Dr. Jamal Nasir and Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmed Khokhar, Senior Adviser Law of Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat.

Syed Tahir Shahbaz said that his office had been making its utmost efforts to improve jails conditions, changing the mindset and to remove the irritants of criminal administrative justice system. The progress of the provincial, district oversight committees and welfare committees to improve life of prisoners, especially children, women and destitute prisoners was discussed decisively with all the stakeholders of four provinces. All the provinces informed that they had already constituted district, welfare and provincial oversight committees and their regular meetings were regularly conducted.  The Sindh government has not yet constituted its Provincial Oversight Committee and the Federal Ombudsman directed them to constitute and make it functional as early as possible.  

All the provinces informed that they had revisited the expansion of probation and parole facilities with certain recommendations so that pressure on accommodation facilities in jails could be curtailed. Sindh government has notified amended “Sindh Prisons and Corrections Service Rules, 2019” and Sindh Prisons Correctional Act, 2019. “They ensured that the new laws would contribute towards peaceful and safe society by confining all prisoners in safe custody by ensuring their legal and basic rights as per international conventions,” said the officials. 

The Government of Punjab has converted the Directorate of Reclamation and Probation into Punjab Probation and Parole Service Department under the supervision of BS-20 officer. Chief Minister Punjab has also constituted a high-level Parole Board to scrutinize the eligibility of prisoners to be released on parole. 

The Ombudsman directed the Home Departments for early establishing high-tech coordination system with the concerned departments i.e. police, prisons, prosecution and NADRA for implementation of biometric verification system/common interface for the prisoners throughout the chain from jails to courts within the shortest possible time. The details of prisoners were submitted in the Apex Court, according to the officials.