ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that people’s trust in the country’s justice system is almost shaken, and formed two committees to suggest constitutional reform and look into the difficulties of women prisoners and recommend corrective measures for that purpose.
The committee consisting of PM’s Advisor for Parliamentary Affairs Dr. Babar Awan and Minister of Law Farogh Naseem will suggest constitutional reforms and prepare a road map for the implementation of these reforms.
It will meet next week and important decisions will be made based on its recommendations.
The decision to form the two committees was taken at a meeting chaired by the prime minister on Friday.
The prime minister directs the constitutional reform committee to draw up a road map for the implementation of rapid reforms in the criminal justice system, police culture, case registration, investigation and the prison system.
Two committees were formed to suggest reforms to the justice system and the welfare of women prisoners
Mr. Khan said that it was a manifesto from Tehreek-i-Insaf Pakistan (PTI) to ensure easy provision of justice for the community, especially the weaker segments of society.
“People’s beliefs are almost shaken in the state justice system and now they are looking towards the PTI government for improvements in the system,” the official press release quoted the prime minister as saying.
Earlier, the minister of law gave the prime minister a brief on reforms and said that a time frame had been set for the disposal of cases after implementing reforms in the system.
He also told a meeting about reforms made to improve the conditions of women prisoners and their inheritance problems.
Another committee, according to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), will look at the situation of women detainees, whether convicted or awaiting trial, in the context of the overall gender bias that is prevalent in society at large.
“Therefore, there is a real need to implement institutional arrangements to deal with this problem comprehensively,” said the official press release issued by the PMO.
The seven-member committee is chaired by the federal minister for human rights (as chair); secretary, Ministry of Human Rights (as committee secretary); secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs; home of the government secretaries of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan; prison police inspector general, Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Gilgit-Baltistan; Sarah Belal and Haya Zahid.
The Chairperson can co-opt anyone as a member of the committee.
The Terms of Reference (TOR) of the committee are: To assess whether prison rules, KUHAP-1898 and international best practices are adhered to with respect to women prisoners, especially their protection, rights, health, safety, and welfare;
To ensure that gender-specific services are available for women prisoners who deal with their physical, psychological, emotional and sociological needs;
To review prison regulations and other relevant laws with a view to suggesting gender-specific changes to bring improvements to these regulations for female prisoners;
To review overall governance, legal assistance and management systems / processes in prison administration, especially those relating to female prisoners and to suggest improvements;
To review individual cases of human rights violations and victimization of women prisoners and suggest steps for institutional accountability;
To review the situation of children accompanying women in prison and work to help mainstream these children, especially those related to their education and social integration;
To suggest a comprehensive and applicable prison governance system in the country with the aim of improving the situation of women in prison; and To review post-release programs to ensure that female prisoners are able to adjust to society after they leave prison.
The press release said that in addition to the TOR, the chairperson could assign other tasks to the committee that would be in the interests of the welfare and protection of women prisoners.
The committee will submit its report to the prime minister in four months.
Published in Dawn, May 30, 2020
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