Nasir Aslam calls for repealing Hudood Ordinance -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Nasir Aslam calls for repealing Hudood Ordinance

KARACHI: The human rights activist and former judge of Supreme Court, Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, has said that the Hudood Ordinance had brought unlimited oppression and miseries for women belonging to poor sections of society and called for completely repealing the ordinance. Delivering a lecture on the “Condition of under-trial ladies and women prisoners” at the weekly lecture program of the PPP, Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid said that the jail system was linked with the judicial system along with the investigation and prosecution system of the police, adding that without improving the latter systems the plight of prisoners could not be addressed to desired level. President PPP (Sindh) Syed Qaim Ali Shah, who presided the event, said that judges who had not taken oath on the PCO had done a great service to the nation and constitution and pointed out that the Charter of Democracy had recognized this fact. He demanded for inducting a caretaker government, tasked to hold free and fair elections, which should comprise those judges who had refused to take oath under the PCO.

Addressing the participants, Justice Nasir Aslam said that more than 1.4 million cases were pending before the courts in the country. In the USA there were 100 judges for every one million people against 10 for one million in Pakistan, he mentioned. The total number of judges at all levels in Pakistan was less than 2,000 for a population of over 160 million, which had created a very unfortunate situation for prisoners who have to languish in jails for years without even being heard. Even when the courts grant bails the furnishing arrangement was yet another big hurdle for prisoners belonging to the poor classes, the legal expert said. Narrating the plight of prisoners, he said the police were exploiting the situation to the maximum as each stage in the trial and jail affairs were subjected to gratification. On the other hand, he added, the investigation and prosecution system of the police was so defective that 95 percent of the criminals, who were proceeded against, obtain their release because of lack of evidence and non-production of witnesses.

He said the acquittal of criminals from courts could not be called the dispensation of justice rather it was great injustice with those who had suffered at the hands of these outlaws and with society as a whole. Justice Nasir Aslam, who had refused to take oath under the PCO as a Supreme Court Judge, said the number of detained women in Karachi Women Jail had come down to a mere 114 from over 400 when his organization started relief work. The organization now had 15 lawyers on its panel. Bail was furnished for more than 100 lady prisoners who were in custody even after granted bail, he said and pointed out that about 80 foreigners were provided tickets to fly home while many were released after being granted bail on personal bonds. He quoted many examples when women remained behind bars for years on trumped up charges under the Hudood Ordinance or for other petty crimes, simply because they had no access to legal aid or could not furnish bail amount.
Source: The News
Date:12/25/2006