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March 26, 2020

PHC judges concerned at overcrowding in prisons

Peshawar

March 26, 2020

PESHAWAR: Two judges of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Wednesday expressed concern over overcrowding in jails and directed the authorities to provide all the basic facilities to them on war footings given the coronavirus pandemic.

Two administrative judges of the PHC Justice Roohul Amin and Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim visited

the central prisons in Mardan, Swabi and Nowshera in connection with the emerging situation created by Covid-19 pandemic. The judges inspected the facilities to safeguard the basic rights of inmates in prevailing circumstances.

The district and sessions judges, judicial magistrates and Addl Inspector General (Prisons) accompanied the PHC judges. As many as 2636 inmates are languishing in Mardan Central Prison which can accommodate 1,898 people.

The district prison in Nowshera has 436 inmates meant for only 130 prisoners and Swabi has 512 prisoners in a jail made for 140.

The PHC judges directed the authorities to take steps on war footings to resolve the issue of overcrowding and expedite construction work on prison buildings.

The judges also inspected the newly established quarantine barracks where the new inmates are being kept under observation for a specific period.

As many as 18 prisoners were released on the spot through the camp court.

Similarly, more than 20 cases of under-trial prisoners were put on the fast track for expeditious disposal by different courts.

The district and sessions judges concerned were handed over all the complaints/applications with strict directions for expeditious disposal of the cases following law and procedure.

Directions were issued to release prisoners either on probation or any other mode as per law and procedure to ease congestion in the district jails.

It was also directed that the living condition of the prisoners could be improved by frequent cleanliness and regular spray to disinfect the premises, especially because of the imminent threat of the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

"The judges also inspected the overall hygienic condition of the jail premises and certain areas of improvements were identified and directions were issued," said Zubair Hussain, the protocol officer of the PHC.