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May 10, 2018

CJ annoyed at poor conditions in Peshawar prison, mental hospital

Peshawar

May 10, 2018

PESHAWAR: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday expressed annoyance at the living conditions of the mentally retarded persons inside the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mental Rehabilitation Centre, deplorable state of Peshawar Central Prison and the hospital there.

“It is horrible as the mentally retarded persons are living in a condition worse than animals. Three patients are kept on one bed,” the chief justice observed in a case related to condition of general hospitals in the province after his visit to the Mental Rehabilitation Centre.

He was saddened that in 26 years, none of the high court or Supreme Court judges visited these centres and that was why they were living in such a condition.

Health Secretary KP Abid Majeed told the chief justice that another psychiatric hospital had been under construction since 2012. He added that work on the hospital had not been completed yet as the government was not releasing funds for that.

The chief justice asked the Mental Rehabilitation Centre in-charge, Dr Naseem Afridi, if patients spent days lying on beds or there were arrangements for them to pass time outside the rooms. To this, the in-charge said benches were arranged for the patients when they came out of the wards or rooms.

During his visit to the Central Prison Peshawar, the chief justice visited different sections. He inquired why the hospital was inside the prison and whether a hospital was supposed to be in such a state.

The chief justice was annoyed at the overcrowding of prisoners in the jail. He was surprised to know that 1900 inmates were kept in the prison which had the capacity for 450 prisoners.

However, the IG Prisons Shahidullah informed the chief justice that prisoners shifting to the new multi storyes jail would start next month, which had been constructed on the premises of the present jail.

Talking to journalists, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak claimed that he had come to meet the chief justice and was not there for a hearing.

However, official sources said the CJP had in fact summoned the chief minister to the jail and the mental hospital to see the very poor conditions there due to the negligence by the KP government. Chief Secretary Azam Khan accompanied him.

It was learnt that hospital visit was undertaken over the case of a woman reportedly with mental disabilities, who was on the death row.