LAHORE        -            A high-level meeting held on Monday under the chair of Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan pondered over different proposals to bring about jail reforms. .  Additional Chief Secretary Home Momin Ali Agha and DIG (HQ) Prisons attended the meeting among others.

The meeting mulled over proposals to build new barracks in Punjab jails and to repair the existing ones. A proposal to improve the jail industry with the participation of the private sector also came under discussion. Senior Minister proposed that prisoners should also be given profit share of the products made by them.

Giving a briefing in the meeting, Additional Chief Secretary Momin Ali Agha said that in view of coronavirus, inmates were being provided with the facility to talk to their relatives on telephone. Similarly, many steps had been taken to improve the quality of food in jails, the secretary said.

He assured all possible cooperation for the reform in jails as per the directions of the Senior Minister for which planning work would be started immediately.

Addressing the meeting, Aleem Khan said that he personally worked for the betterment of various sections of Kot Lakhpat Jail while fans, water coolers and other facilities had also been extended in Sheikhupura and Kasur Jails. Senior Minister also decided to visit Kot Lakhpat Jail along with senior officials soon so that the situation could be reviewed on the spot and further decisions could be taken accordingly.

Senior Minister said that he sought special permission from Punjab Chief Minister on jail reforms for which he was grateful. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had a personal interest in welfare activities of prisoners.  Aleem Khan further stated that there was a dire need to bring the number of inmates in the jails across Punjab as per the capacity and to introduce massive reforms in this sector.

He added that providing basic facilities like proper food, drinking water and toilets to the prisoners was the first responsibility of the government.

The minister said he had personally gone through this process and was practically aware of the plight of the prisoners. He pointed out that most of the political leaders went to jails but did nothing for the betterment of the jails after coming to power.