Four women prisoners released in NWFP
PESHAWAR, July 21 2006: The first batch of four women prisoners were released from the Peshawar Central Prison under the recently-promulgated ordinance after they were granted bail by courts concerned. The women were identified as Nusrat, Baz Gula, Nasreen and Fareeda Bano. Two of them had been charged with peddling narcotics, the other two were charged in theft and kidnapping cases. Unlike other provinces, where the first batches of women prisoners was released amid pomp and show, no importance was attached to the event by the NWFP government.
No sooner had the four women exited the prison’s main compound, they faced an awkward situation as journalists and press photographers rushed towards them. The women, clad in traditional burqa, were unaware about their importance and seemed visibly disturbed by the journalists’ attention. The women initially requested photographers not to take their pictures. Then they tried to avoid mediapersons by running towards different corners of the prison’s outer compound. Finally, one of them started shouting at the photographers.
Later, the women left the prison from its rear gate. Photographers did not even spare a prison maid who was escorting the women prisoners. They presumed her to be one of the released prisoners and they took dozens of her photos. “Please spare me, I am only a prison maid,” she told them in Pashto. Ever since the President General Pervez Musharraf promulgated the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Ordinance, 2006, on July 7, photographers used to flock the prison daily at 5pm, the prisoners’ release time, in hope of catching a glimpse of women being released under the new law.
Some women prisoners have been facing problems finding reliable guarantors who could submit surety bonds on their behalf. During the past couple of days, about a dozen women had been allowed bail by local courts but their release orders could not be issued because of a lack of reliable sureties.