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Jeudi 14 Novembre 2019

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Press Release

Wednesday 25th of August 2004 | National, Pakistan
L’OIJJ au quotidien
August 25, 2004: SPARC organized a consultation on the State of Juvenile Justice in NWFP. Addressing the consultation Mr. Zakir Shoaib while sharing his views said that juvenile prisoners are faced with the problem of delayed trials due to overburdened courts. Under the JJSO a child could be released with or without surety but should not be sent to jail in case he/she has committed a crime that has a punishment of less than ten years. Unfortunately the courts are not giving bails without sureties and arrangement of sureties sometimes becomes a problem for the juveniles.

Press Release
August 25, 2004: SPARC organized a consultation on the State of Juvenile Justice in NWFP. Addressing the consultation Mr. Zakir Shoaib while sharing his views said that juvenile prisoners are faced with the problem of delayed trials due to overburdened courts. Under the JJSO a child could be released with or without surety but should not be sent to jail in case he/she has committed a crime that has a punishment of less than ten years. Unfortunately the courts are not giving bails without sureties and arrangement of sureties sometimes becomes a problem for the juveniles. The Government should immediately establish one exclusive juvenile court at least in Peshawar. There are 24 Additional District and Sessions Judges in Peshawar; one could be notified as full time Juvenile Court.

The issue of juvenile justice is there since centuries but now after the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance and with the commendable work of some NGOs like SPARC there is much more awareness about the juvenile justice said Mr. Noor Alam Advocate. He said that police and probation departments have very important role under the JJSO but there is extreme lack of awareness in the cadres of police while the number of probation officers is only 15 in the Province with no coordination with police and judiciary. He also demanded of the government for the establishment of the exclusive juvenile court.

There are certain developments with regard to juvenile justice in the past four years in NWFP including the establishment of panel of lawyers to extend free legal assistance to juveniles, the number of juvenile prisoners that was around 1000 in 2000 when SPARC started work in NWFP. It reduced on yearly basis with 727 in 2001, 588 in 2002, 477 in 2003 and 306 in 2004 said SPARC’s Arshad Mahmood. He said that there are no female probation officers in the Province resulting in zero females on probation in the Province. Borstal Institutes could not be established in the Province despite the fact that the previous government has allocated RS 25 million for the establishment of Borstal Institutes in Peshawar and Bannu.

Although children are benefiting from the relief offered by the JJSO, tragically however, children in the tribal areas are deprived of the rights since JJSO has not been extend to FATA and PATA and presently 49 children in prisons under the FCR including children as young as 2 years convicted for 2 years imprisonment that is lamentable said Mr. Mahmood. He further said that Qismat Khan sentenced for 45 years under FCR in a false case, who was recently released after spending 10 years in jail, is a test case for all of us. We have ratified the UNCRC, UDHR and have the constitution but are unable to protect the rights of the children of the tribal areas.

Mr. Khalid Abbas AIG of Prisons while sharing his views said that the situation in prisons is much improved and there is greater awareness among the jail officials as compare to the police and others. Construction work on the Borstal Institute in Bannu is in final stages and hopefully the institute will start functioning within two months time. Initially the staff would be from the prison department but later on new trained staff would be recruited said Mr. Abbas. PC I has also been approved for the conversion of Adolescent Training Center Haripur into Borstal Institute informed the AIG Prisons.

Speaking on the occasion the Mr. Sirajul Haq Senior Minister Government of NWFP appreciated the efforts of SPARC for such a neglected portion of the society. He promised that he would take up the issue of shifting of juveniles belonging to Frontier from Borstal Jail Faisalabad and other Punjab jails to Frontier. To a question he said that the government would look into the matter of introducing a Borstal Schools Act in the Province. Qismat Khan, a former juvenile imprisoned under the FCR, said that his life has been changed by the 10 years imprisonment completely. "I am not able to readjust in the society, I can’t get a job and am unable to restart my life". "Who is responsible for all this treatment that has been meted out to me, don’t we the people of tribal areas have rights, are we not the citizens of Pakistan"? I need my property, confiscated by the land mafia; I want to be compensated for the precious years I spent behind the bars. I have still not been acquitted rather have been released conditionally on furnishing six sureties and a bond of 1 million and am feeling threatened said Mr. Khan. SPARC’s research publication "Waiting for the Sunrise: Juvenile Justice in Pakistan" was also launched on the occasion.


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