Fayyaz Ul Hassan Chohan:-
In previous two months, from the time of entrusting portfolio of Punjab Prisons Department to Mr. Fayya ul Hassan Chohan, several positive and productive steps have been taken. A brief description of these steps is being mentioned here for your kind perusal.
- A comprehensive system for management and redressal of complaints is being prepared at Inspectorate of Prisons and soon its functionality will be expanded in prisons all over the province. In a first initiative of its kind within Punjab as well as all over Pakistan, a new and unique feature added in this system is the provision of a hot line which will connect jails and Minister Prisons office. Contact number of Minister Prisons Office has been written in all PCOs in addition to the five contact numbers any prisoner can call twice a week. This hotline will be useful in minimizing maltreatment being meted out to the prisoners as well as to eradicate overall malpractices in the prisons.
- In continuation to eradicate hegemony of corrupt officers in Prisons Department, a thorough enquiry is currently underway against M Akram, posted as Deputy Superintendent (Executive) at Adyala Jail Rawalpindi. Said officer was posted at the said post for a long time and some 33 complaints were filed against him. His involvement was found involved in drug peddling, bribery and other corrupt practices in preliminary investigation report and he is currently being proceeded against Under Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act, 2006 (PEEDA).
- It was a common practice in prison department for Superintendents and Deputy Superintendents to keep 1-100 milch animals like buffalos at their residences for personal gains in violation of Rule 869 (i) of Pakistan Prisons Rules, 1978 which allows said officers to keep milch animals with two of their calves. This policy was being misused by officials and prisoners were being used as labour. As a result of intervention by Minister Prisons, this malpractice has been brought to its logical end and implementation of policy has been made sure.
- Jail officers also used to keep roughly 15 to 20 Warders as house help which aggravated the difficulties in day to day service delivery and functionality of an already understaffed department. This undue practice has also been eradicated upon notice of Minister Prisons and now only three warders are allowed to be deputed at an officer’s residence.
- Minister Prisons Punjab, ever since his appointment, has conducted five emergency visits to different jails across Punjab. As a result of these visits and upon personal reports and enquiries made by Minister Prisons Punjab through reliable independent sources about drug trafficking within prisons of Punjab, a stern process of vigilance and scrutiny is underway. As a result, considerable decrease in drug trafficking in prisons is seen.
- It has been decided by Minister Prisons Punjab to encourage Members of Provincial Assembly to visits jails in their respective constituencies in order to make sure no unlawful activity is underway in prisons. Upon receiving of complaints in their reports, strict disciplinary action will be taken against jail administration.
- An official of PTI Social Media Team suffered a rape attempt by an Assistant Superintendent, Camp Jail Lahore and had to go through excruciating mental torture for eight months as no complaint was being registered against the culprit. Upon taking notice of this gruesome incident by Minister Prisons Punjab, legal proceedings have been initiated against the said ASJ.
- With personal interest of Minister Prisons Punjab, several philanthropists have been engaged for provision of quality hygienic sanitary conditions in barracks of common prisoners. In this regard, washrooms of common prisoners’ barracks have been revamped and redone in Camp Jail, Lahore and similar work is underway in District Jail, Kasur. With inclusion of more private sector philanthropic organizations, this initiative will be expanded in all jails across the province.