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104 prisoners died in Sindh jails in three years, PA told

KARACHI: As many as 104 prisoners have died in different Sindh jails in the past three years, Sindh Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nisar Ahmad Khuhro informed the Sindh Assembly on Thursday.

He was responding to queries raised by legislators during the Question Hour that pertained to the prisons department in Sindh Assembly’s Thursday session.

Mr Khuhro was responding to questions on behalf of Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who holds the portfolio but was not present in the assembly when the Question Hour started.

Although Murad Ali Shah did arrive later to the house, he did not respond to the questions and remained busy with some file work while Mr Khuhro continued to answer the questions.

Responding to a question asked by Muttahida Qaumi Movement legislator Sumeta Syed as to why 80 prisoners (which comes to over 76 per cent) out of the 104 had died in prisons of just two cities Karachi Central Jail, 37; Malir District Jail Karachi, 19; and Hyderabad Jail, 24 the minister said that he could not give the reason as to why the prisoners had died, but if she wanted he could find out the causes of death of each of these and inform the assembly, soon.

Responding to another of her questions regarding details of the 104 deceased prisoners, the minister said that 90 of them had died of natural causes, eight died during jail riots, two had committed suicide, one prisoner had died as the prisoners had climbed the roof of the jail in Sukkur and one of them had died owing to firing from the outside, one died owing to the injuries he had suffered during the entry process at the prison, one prisoner was killed in the court of judicial magistrate Rohri, where he had been taken for hearing of his case.

Responding to a question by Pakistan Muslim League-Functional lawmaker Nusrat Abbasi regarding remissions to prisoners above the age of 75, the minister said at the time when the question was asked there were four prisoners above the age of 75 years one of them was in Karachi and two were in Hyderabad prisons and they had been convicted of kidnapping, murder, etc. He said the fourth one who was in Karachi prison had died in the Civil Hospital Karachi some time ago.

Responding to the issue of remissions, the minister said that under the law the president of Pakistan can remit the sentence of the prisoners who were over the age of 65 years provided they were not convicted of heinous crimes murder, terrorist activities, etc.

Responding to a question asked by MQM legislator Rana Ansar regarding the number of women convicts and children living with them in prisons, the minister said that there were 19 women convicts in the four women prisons in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Larkana — of the province.

He, however, said that he could not give the number of children living with the convicted women in prisons.

Responding to a question by Waqar Shah regarding women doctors in prisons, Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza said that it was a fresh question.

Responding to a question by MQM legislator Saifuddin Khalid about whether medical facilities/medicines were available in the prisons as three of his party activists/supporters had died in prison as medical treatment was not provided to them, the minister said that drugs of over Rs30 million were purchased annually and that hospitals/clinics/doctors/visiting doctors were available in jails for prisoners.

Replying to a question by MQM legislator Saleem Bandhani whether there was any medical facility in Sukkur jail, the minister said a 50-bed hospital existed in the jail and sufficient medicines were also available.

Responding to a question raised by Ms Abbasi regarding expenses on diet of prisoners during 2012-13, the minister said that over Rs735m had been spent on food for prisoners during the year at the rate of around Rs140 per inmate par day.

He said that the inmates’ weekly menu comprised chicken three times, vegetables three times, beef two times and dal was available daily. An egg and tea was given for breakfast and tea in the evening was also given. He said that the food was provided by a contractor.

Minister Manzoor Wassan, giving some additional and firsthand information as he had been the minister for prisons while also remaining in jail for over seven years, said that in 1978 only Rs4 per prisoner per day for food was given, and then till the year 2008 Rs20 per inmate per day was allocated, which currently was around Rs140 per inmate per day.

MQM legislators Zafar Kamali, Dewan Chand Chawla and Hargun Das Ahuja; Kulsoom Chandio of the Pakistan Peoples Party; Ismail Rahu and Sorath Thebo of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, and others also spoke.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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