ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday reprimanded city managers for delaying establishment of the much-needed model prison in the capital.
During the meeting, the prime minister directed the authorities concerned to complete the project as it had already been delayed by 10 years.
Taking notice of the delay, Mr Sharif formed a six-member committee headed by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to review it. Other members include secretaries of the ministries of interior, housing and planning and Chief Commissioner Islamabad Amir Ahmed Ali who is also serving as the chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA).
The prime minister sought a report from the committee within a week to ascertain actual causes of the delay.
Seeks report to ascertain reasons for delay; body formed under interior minister to review work
The notification regarding formation of the committee was issued and signed by Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Tauqeer Shah. PM Shehbaz was apprised that the construction of Islamabad jail as per international standards and facilities could not be completed due to unavailability of funds. Due to this, prisoners have been accommodated in the already overcrowded Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi for the last six decades.
The 90-acre jail, located in sector H-16, adjacent to the motorway will have the capacity to house around 2,000 inmates. Schools, mosques, training centres, playgrounds, and Islamabad Capital Territory courts will also be built in the same premises.
A training centre for prison officials will also be built in the complex. The concept of a model prison was first conceived by former CDA chairman Kamran Lashari in 2003 and an area in zone-IV of the capital was selected for its establishment.
It must be noted that successive governments have not made any effort towards establishment of the jail which is why its construction is still not complete. In September 2020, a decision to demolish the jail building - on which Rs1.5 billion had already been spent – was taken. “The cabinet has decided not to regularise illegal construction of a prison on a green area in H-16 in Islamabad as Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government’s philosophy is to preserve the green areas,” Shibli Faraz had pointed out.
However, later, it was decided that the portion of the jail which fell in the green area will be demolished.
Shortage of jails and lock ups is one of the main problems confronting police and local administrations of Islamabad and Rawalpindi as transportation of inmates from Central Jail Adiala to district courts for trials poses threats to the lives of inmates and police personnel.
According to a senior official, Adiala Jail is the only jail in the twin cities for accommodation of prisoners. There have been incidents where prisoners have been assassinated while being transported to courts; some of these incidents have even taken place in the premises of courts.
As Adiala is the only jail in the twin cities, it always remains overcrowded. About 10,000 to 11,000 prisoners are lodged in the jail against its capacity to accommodate 3,000 inmates, police said.
Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2022