Only one woman freed from Peshawar jail
PESHAWAR, July 18 2006: Only a single female could be released from Peshawar Central Prison as nine others submitted their bail applications on July 17, ten days after the issuance of presidential order regarding release of women prisoners on bail.
The first lucky female released from Peshawar jail was identified as Shehnaz. She was arrested on July 5 on charges of drug trafficking in the jurisdiction of C-Division police station here. The court of judicial magistrate Amjad Rahim granted her bail. It is learnt that the jail authorities July 17 forwarded cases of nine more females to the concerned courts for processing their bail.
The total number of cases submitted to the local courts now raised to 61. Earlier the jail authorities and family members had applied for the release of 52 women on bail. Majority of women who have sought bail had been nabbed on charges of drug trafficking. An NGO has claimed that seven from 95 female prisoners in the Peshawar jail have refused to forward their bail applications, arguing that they were more secure behind the bars. It was said that these females were charged under honour related crimes. The jail authorities, however, did not confirm any such refusal by a female inmate.
President General Pervez Musharraf had ordered release on bail of all those females who are languishing in different jails of the country on charges other than murder, terrorism and robbery. The Ministry of Women Development had recommended the amendment in Section 497 of the CrPC for the purpose that, according to Federal Minister Sumera Malik, will benefit 1,300 females across the country. Around 300 of these beneficiaries belong to NWFP.
The process was delayed for more than a week in NWFP, particularly in the provincial metropolis. At a time when almost 300 females had been freed from different prisons in Punjab, only five ladies could earn freedom from 22 jails of NWFP. Amongst the rest of the four, two were released on Friday from Dera Ismail Khan and one each from Abbottabad and Bannu. A large number of confused relatives of these prisoners used to gather outside these prisons since July 7 to welcome their family members. “First we did not know the procedure and we thought she will be released automatically under the decision.
Now we have approached a court and hope something good will happen,” a villager, Ghulam Habib, told in court premises where he had submitted documents for the release of his mother, charged in drug trafficking. A number of females languishing in Peshawar Prison are also accompanied by their minor children. Many of them were born behind the bars and are yet to breathe in open air.
Source: The News