NCHR visits jail to check condition of political prisoners

Myra Imran
Sunday, Jun 04, 2023

Islamabad : Visit of a team of National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) to Central Jail, Rawalpindi, (Adiala) in response to reports alleging torture and inhumane treatment of detained political workers, finds no evidence of inhuman or derogratory treatment with the workers.

The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) recently conducted a comprehensive visit to Central Jail, Rawalpindi, (Adiala) in response to reports alleging torture and inhumane treatment of detained political workers. The visit aimed to investigate the veracity of these allegations, to gauge the conditions of confinement, whether such prisoners had been tortured or not, and to check on the medical records of the prisoners – whether they were screened for illnesses or denied any of their rights and privileges as per law.

The NCHR oversight team to the jail comprised Rana Ghulam Murtaza, Secretary NCHR, Mian Waqar Ahmed, Law Officer, NCHR and members of civil society namely Barrister Sarah Belal, Barrister Maneha of Justice Project Pakistan and Mr. Safdar Chaudhary of HRCP. Findings of the Committee show that here are currently 300 protesters incarcerated in the jail.

Of the 26 female detainees, all except one, have been released. The protesters who have been arrested are being kept in barracks along with other prisoners. Most of these prisoners were unable to afford legal representation and were facing difficulty in this regard. One major concern raised by the prisoners was regarding cancellations of court hearings. Two senior political leaders who are detained under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO), have been held in separate cells. When interviewed, they expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the jail staff. However, they raised concerns about the non-provision of facilities such a mattress, TV, and newspaper. The female barracks were found to be clean and spacious Perusal of the medical reports of women who had been arrested and were no longer in jail revealed that during screening ( prior to incarceration) some bruises, few abrasions and in one case a fractured finger was recorded in the jail register. A statement issued by the Commission says that the NCHR will continue to monitor the situation and work towards safeguarding the rights and welfare of detainees in jail and will be sharing other jail reports as well.