PESHAWAR: Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dr. Kazim Niaz Friday said efforts were being made to bring meaningful prison reforms in light of the recommendations of the Federal Ombudsman Pakistan. Chief Secretary expressed these views in a meeting held at Civil Secretariat, on implementation status of Federal Ombudsman’s recommendations on prison reforms in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa . The meeting was co-chaired by Federal Ombudsman Pakistan Tahir Shahbaz, Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dr Kazim Niaz, IG Police Sanaullah Abbasi. Former Chief Secretary Ijaz Ahmad Qureshi, Secretaries Health and Law, Advocate General KP and other relevant officials attended the meeting. On the occasion, Inspector General Prisons Khalid Abbas while giving detailed briefing on prison’s reforms said that in light of the recommendations about Rs 3 billion had been allocated for the jails for the financial year 2020-21. To enhance and improve working of prison department, he said 2077 posts of different cadres had been sanctioned. The meeting was informed that Provincial and District Oversight Committees had so far respectively made eight and 40 visits to different jails and as many as 1672 inmates had been given free legal aid as well
It was further informed that in the past libraries were only set up in central prisons while now libraries were being established in every prison for the inmates. Owing to best measures taken in view of Covid-19 pandemic, the IG Prisons claimed no inmate died during all the three waves of pandemic, and added only one employee of the department died of corona. Juveniles and women inmates were segregated from other prisoners, he said, separate cells had also been set up for those involved in terrorism and other crimes of serious nature. The meeting was apprised that capacity of the jails was enhanced in the province and issue of overcrowding had largely been solved. Prison Management Information System (PMIS) has been installed in 14 prison of the province and steps were being taken to introduce this system in other jails as well.Federal Ombudsman Pakistan Tahir Shahbaz termed the steps taken to reform jails in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as satisfactory, and said that Covid-19 pandemic had certainly affected the implementation of prison reforms and hoped that progress on prison’s reform will improve as the situation improves.
The Chief Secretary reiterated that bringing reforms in jails was among top priorities of provincial government. The Chief Secretary said that to make prisoners useful part of society steps were taken to provide them with free education, skills development, health care facilities and screening of infectious diseases. He also directed relevant authorities to submit a detailed report of implementation status on prison reforms to Federal Ombudsman at the earliest.