Hudood Ordinance cases registered -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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Hudood Ordinance cases registered

LAHORE – Punjab police has registered as many as 23,815 cases under Hudood Ordinance, 62 cases under Blasphemy Law and 271 cases of child trafficking during the last three years.

Regional Director, Directorate of Human Rights, Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights Kishwar Shaheen Awan disclosed this in an interview with Business Recorder.

Giving details of these cases, she said, out of the total registered cases, challans of 17,339 cases have been submitted to the courts, while 406 cases remained undetected, while 4,554 cases were cancelled. Similarly, accused in 3140 cases have been convicted, while 3,864 were acquitted. However, 9535 cases are still under trial while 631 cases are under investigation.

Another serious issue emerging during the last few years is child trafficking. As many as 271 cases of child trafficking have been reported during last three years in the province. According to data received from Inspector General of Prisons, Punjab, 37 cases registered under Blasphemy Law are under trial, accused in 19 cases have been convicted while 6 prisoners were condemned, she added.

Since its inception, the Regional Directorate Human Rights Lahore has received about 3,000 complaints of human rights violations, which were forwarded to the quarters concerned for appropriate action under the law. Financial assistance is also being provided to the victims of kidnapping, rape, police encounter, torture and extra-judicial killing through the special fund which has been created in the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights.

This Directorate during the last five years, distributed financial assistance ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000 on merit and case-to-case basis. As such, an amount of Rs one million has been distributed among the victims out of this fund, she maintained.

The Regional Directorate has planned to expand its activities at gross root level with the help of various departments including Home, Police, Social Welfare and Population Welfare Departments. We have suggested to the government that frequent meetings of officers of Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights, and the heads of concerned departments must be held to strengthen interaction between the government functionaries, Kishwar added.

It has also been suggested that Human Rights Investigation Inspectors should be posted at district levels or at least an officer of the district police or district government directly under the control of district nazim or DCO must be designated as focal person for dealing with human rights issues.

The federal government has been asked to direct the provincial governments to take immediate action against the culprits on any report regarding human rights abuse to be referred by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights.

It is suggested to the government that frequent meeting of officers of Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights, and the heads of concerned department of provincial government including Home Department, Social Welfare and Women Development and Law and Parliamentary affairs should be held to strengthen interaction between the government functionaries, Kishwar added.

These meeting would also help eliminate difficulties being faced by regional office.

The regional directorate should be empowered to independently visit and report on human rights violation pertaining to prisons and police stations in the province, which would improve the state of affairs of human rights, she maintained.

It is also suggested that human rights investigation inspectors should be posted at district level or at least an officer of the district police or district government directly under the control of district nazim or DCO should be deputed as focal person for dealing with human rights issues.

Such inspector or officer posted at district level should be responsible to ensure co-ordination with the regional directorate of human rights with regard to the case pertaining to those particular districts.

Thought a post of investigation officer (BS 16) has already been created but the same are still vacant in the province except two districts.

The federal government has been asked to direct the provincial government to take immediate action against the culprits on any report regarding human rights abuse specifically referred by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights.

There is dire need of budgetary allocation to create awareness among the people and financial powers should be delegated to regional office so as enable it to arrange seminar, workshop in each district.

She was of the view that consultative process should be initiated with the education department, Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education, and universities to examine the course, contents and to recommend improvements in line with the human rights objectives.

In order to achieve objective of human rights training at educational institutions, the regional directorate may also be associated with the activities of the human rights mass awareness project of the Ministry.
Source: Business Recorder
Date:6/14/2004