ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday constituted a committee for the investigation and redressal of issues faced by women inmates in the country.
“The committee has been constituted taking into account the plight of the female prisoners, whether convicted or awaiting trial, in overall context of gender biasness prevalent in the society at large and issues associated therewith,” read a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.
The step was taken to put in place institutional arrangements in order to address the issue in a comprehensive manner, it added.
The committee comprises Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari as its chairperson and the ministry’s secretary as secretary, while Interior Secretary, home secretaries and the inspectors-general of prisons of the four provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan, Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) founder and executive director Sarah Belal and lawyer Haya Zahid were included as its members.
The committee would “assess whether Prison Rules, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 and international best practices are being adhered to with respect to women prisoners, especially their protection, rights, health, security, and wellbeing”.
While addressing the physical, psychological, emotional, and sociological needs, the committee would ensure the availability of gender-specific services for women prisoners. It would review prison rules and other relevant laws to suggest gender-specific changes for improvements for women inmates.
The committee would also “review the overall governance, legal aid, and management systems/processes in prison administration, especially with regard to women prisoners and to suggest improvements”.
The investigation body would review individual cases of human rights violations and victimisation of women inmates and suggest measures for institutional accountability.
The living conditions of children accompanied by women inmates in terms of their education and social integration would also be assessed by the committee.
It would also “suggest comprehensive and workable system of governance of prisons in Pakistan with a view to ameliorating the plight of women in prison; review post release programs to ensure that women prisoners are able to adjust in society after they leave the prison; and, any other task assigned to it by the Chairperson in the interest of the welfare and protection of women prisoners”.
Moreover, the committee was tasked to submit its report on the matter within a period of four months.