close
Monday May 20, 2024

Senate HR panel told about women prisoners, their status

Senate Committee on Human Rights also deliberated on the matter of Pakistani citizens who are imprisoned or detained abroad, both convicted or under trial

By Our Correspondent
February 21, 2024
This image shows the Senate of Pakistan in session. — Senate of Pakistan Website
This image shows the Senate of Pakistan in session. — Senate of Pakistan Website

ISLAMABAD: Chairperson National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) Nilofar Bakhtiar told the Senate Committee on Human Rights there are currently 13,065 women prisoners in the country, with 12,258 women under trial, 767 convicted and 40 women on death row.

She further added that around 60% of total prisoners in Punjab are under trial. Moreover, she said that NCSW played a crucial role in arranging weekly family meetings and ensuring better facilities for women prisoners. Informing the Senate Committee, Nilofar Bakhtiar claimed she had ensured that five of the well-known imprisoned women political activists, namely, Dr. Yasmeen Rashid (289 days), Sanam Javed (289 days), Aliya Hamza (289 days), Fehmida Begum (269 days), and Ayesha Bhutta (195 days) continued to be treated in accordance with the Bangkok Rules.

Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights held its meeting under Chairman Senator Walid Iqbal on Tuesday. The Senate Committee was briefed by Nilofar Bakhtiar on the state of implementation of UN-approved “Bangkok Rules” across Pakistan involving the treatment of women prisoners and detainees. In its previous meeting held on 29th December, 2023, the committee had also called for facts and figures on the said subject.

The committee unanimously recommended to the NCSW chairperson to inquire into the matter and report back to the committee on whether bail had been sought by these women activists, and if so, why they still remained in jail for such long periods of time despite the Supreme Court rulings.

The Senate Committee on Human Rights also deliberated on the matter of Pakistani citizens who are imprisoned or detained abroad, both convicted or under trial.

Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) submitted that there are currently a total of 23,456 prisoners/detainees in foreign prisons, mainly in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iraq, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, India and China out of 15,587 are convicted and 7,869 are under trial.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed inquired about MoFA’s initiatives to provide relief to these prisoners or establish a repatriation programme. He also highlighted that Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia had announced the release of 2,100 Pakistani prisoners during his visit to Pakistan at the request of former PM Imran Khan. The committee accordingly sought information from MOFA about the current status of prisoners whose release was agreed upon by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as aforesaid.