LAHORE: For the first time in the history of Punjab, it has been decided to give the right to appeal against sentences given to prisoners by Jail Superintendent under the Pakistan Prisons Act, 1894.
The prison rules were enacted 129 years ago during the British Raj. Sources said all is ready for the amendments to sections 583 and 584 of the Pakistan Prisons Rules, 1978 regarding the punishments.
Earlier, no one, including DIG, IG Prisons and the Home Secretary, had the authority to pardon the sentences imposed on prisoners by the Jail Superintendent. The right to appeal against the sentence was required under the United Nations Charter of Human Rights. The officials of Prisons Department had submitted a written assurance to the Lahore High Court.
Sources said the Punjab Home Department will send the amendments to Pakistan Prisons Rules, 1978 to the cabinet for summary approval following which the governor will issue an ordinance on the advice of chief minister.
When contacted, IG Prisons Mian Farooq Nazir confirmed that the draft will be sent to the Home Department. He said under the Act, the Superintendent of Jail had the authority to sentence a prisoner to 20 lashes as a punishment. The punishment was abolished in 1996 on the order of the Supreme Court, he said.