RAWALPINDI: Days after Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah made a visit to Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail amid complaints of mistreatment of prisoners, a six-member committee headed by Faisalabad Jail DIG Saeedullah Gondal started a probe into the allegations of torture, corruption, and inhuman treatment meted out to prisoners in the central jail in Rawalpindi.

IG Prison Office Superintendent Ishtiaq Gul, High Security Prison Sahiwal Superintendent Farrukh Sultan, Gujranwala Jail Additional Superintendent Akhtar Iqbal, Gujranwala Jail Deputy Superintendent Arif Shahzad, and Sargodha Jail Assistant Superintendent Abdul Basit are members of the fact-fin ding committee.

The committee will identify major shortcomings in the jail system and administrative lapses, causing the failure of the entire system. The committee will also take concrete steps for its improvements at its level and submit recommendations to the government for further improvements.

The fact-finding committee will also look into the issues related to jail security, punishments to prisoners, confinement, and removal of prisoners from punishment cells, involvement of officers/officials in anti-administrative activities owing to their association with some influential prisoners, and steps taken or required for the welfare of prisoners.

Six-member body headed by DIG to investigate complaints of torture, corruption

It has been learned that the fact-finding team, during their visit to Adiala Jail will record the statements of the inmates and the jail staff and also review the footage and log books and records of the CCTV cameras installed in the jail.

Adiala Jail notoriety

Adiala Jail has remained in the headlines for the ill-treatment of prisoners and its allegedly corrupt officials. Recently, the mother of a 21-year-old under-trial prisoner, Shahab Hussain, had filed a petition in the IHC, saying that the jail superintendent and other staff members tortured her son and broke his finger.

She alleged that her son, who was arrested in a terrorism case, was stripped and by jail officials who also demanded a bribe of Rs5,000. She said her son went on hunger strike on September 9 as a result of inhumane treatment.

Similarly, a video of torture of a prisoner also went viral recently and the matter was brought to the notice of Justice Minallah which prompted his visit to the central jail. He was accompanied by two Islamabad judges and asked prisoners about their problems during his two-and-a-half-hour stay.

In response to the inmates’ complaints to the CJ, the IG Prisons, Shahid Saleem Baig, who is set to retire next month, had suspended one assistant superintendent, two head warders, and four warders. At the same time, Rawalpindi Region DIG Kamran Anjum transferred 10 head warders and 17 warders to different jails in the region.

The move by the prison officials was criticised in the media as it was claimed that the bigwigs wanted to absolve themselves by shifting the blame on subordinates.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2022

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