LAHORE: As many as 2,520 office-bearers and activists of Pakistan Awami Tehreek and Tehreek-i-Insaf detained under 3-MPO ahead of ‘Inqilab’ and ‘Azadi’ marches across Punjab, are still languishing in 27 jails of the province and will remain there till further government orders.
Official statistics available with Dawn show that Gujranwala Central Jail had the maximum number of such detainees and under-trial prisoners – 354, followed by Mianwali Central Jail 340, Sahiwal Central Jail 208, Sialkot District Jail 192, Sargodha District Jail 183, Gujrat District Jail 154, Rawalpindi Central Jail and Lahore District Jail 118 each, Faisalabad Central Jail 96, Jhang District Jail 94, Muzaffarhgarh District Jail 80, and Lahore Central Jail and Vehari District Jail 74 each.
Similarly, up to 73 activists were detained in Dera Ghazi Khan Central Jail, 67 in Shahpur, Khushab District Jail, 48 in Multan Central Jail, 46 in Attock District Jail, 40 in Rajanpur District Jail, 30 in Toba Tek Singh District Jail, 28 in Jhelum District Jail, 26 in Bahawalpur Central Jail, 20 in Bahawalnagar District Jail, 19 each in Rahim Yar Khan and Faisalabad district jails, 13 in Mandi Bahauddin District Jail and nine in Sheikhupura District Jail.
Statistics show as many as nine activists who were earlier detained by the Punjab police were later released from four jails. Four of them were released from Sahiwal Central Jail, three from Muzaffargarh District Jail and one each from Rawalpindi Central Jail and Vehari District Jail ahead of Aug 14.
According to a prisons department source, the release of political detainees was expected after the conclusion of long marches of both parties in Islamabad.
He said the provincial government would decide as to when the detainees would be released as under 3-MPO (which is originally an executive order of the government issued by the home department) the detainees could be kept in jails for up to seven, 15 and 30 days depending upon the government’s discretionary powers.
A district police officer said the detentions would continue till further orders of the government which could also extend the detention period.
Under the law a district coordination officer (DCO) has the power to detain a person he or she deems a threat to public order for a maximum period of 30 days and to extend it for another 30 days the officer needs home department’s permission.
Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2014