KARACHI - Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM) Senator Nasreen Jalil has expressed her concern about the conditions in prisons and said that health facilities are almost non-existent in Karachi prisons.

Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Monday, Nasreen said that prisoners’ rights were being violated by the authorities as they were living in a miserable condition.

MQM leader Mehfooz Yar Khan and lawyers of the Legal Aid Committee accompanied her to the press conference.

The MQM senator said the Karachi Central Prison had a capacity of 2,400 inmates but the authorities were keeping a far higher number of prisoners there. She said that prisoners had to sleep sideways, tightly jammed for a lack of space. She said that spread of disease was directly related to high population and unhygienic living conditions. Almost all prisoners in Karachi jails were afflicted with scabies, but little was being done about it.

She said, "Our party worker, Naeem, was arrested on April 23, 2015 and shifted to jail on May 19. He was suffering from asthma and died in the jail due to a lack of medical facilities. Before this, one of our party workers also died in the prison due to medical negligence."

“There were many prisoners in the jail, including our workers, who were suffering from different kinds of health issues. Despite our regular requests, prison authorities never paid attention to this issue. Our four party workers, Amir, Imran, Abdul Majeed and Noor Muhammad, were suffering from severe health issues but the authorities treated them like animals.

There is neither a hospital nor a dispensary in the jail," she added.

Speaking on the occasion, MQM leader Mehfooz Yar Khan claimed that most of MQM’s jailed workers were innocent and his party appealed to the authorities concerned to stop political victimisation. Even lawyers were being prevented from meeting their clients in jails. This is the most blatant violation of rights of prisoners, he added.

He said that country's slow judicial process led to an increase in the number of cases pending in courts. This slow judicial system was a major cause of delayed decisions that resulted in delay in dispensation of justice and overcrowding of jails. He appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan and the federal government to take notice of the issue and establish a new jail in every district of the city because two jails could not cater to city’s needs.