=> HYDERABAD, Jan 15: Caretaker Federal Minister for -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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=> HYDERABAD, Jan 15: Caretaker Federal Minister for

HYDERABAD, Jan 15: Caretaker Federal Minister for Human Rights Ansar Burney said on Tuesday that the ratio of human trafficking from Pakistan, especially that of young girls to Gulf states, was very high and influential people including former ministers were involved in this inhuman trade worth millions of rupees.

“Not only ex-ministers but very influential people are involved in this trade,” Mr Burney said in response to queries from journalists at the residence of Aslam Arain, father of Mohammad Mudassar, a student of class nine who died on Jan 10 apparently from corporal punishment inflicted on him by his teacher and two successive intestinal surgeries.

“The human trafficking is very much here. Certainly its ratio among young girls and boys is very high. They are mostly trafficked to Middle East and Gulf states,” he said.

In fact, there were people in the Gulf who were interested in young girls, were often deceived into this trade and then trafficked to different countries, he said.

He said that the proposed National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) should be empowered enough to take suo motu action on the cases of violation of human rights, slavery and human trafficking.

“I want that this commission must be empowered to take suo motu action, punish culprits and raid the places including police stations and jails where human rights violations are committed,” he said.

He said that the commission should also put an end to slavery and stop human trafficking. “I understand that this is not going to happen overnight,” he said.

But, if the NCHR also met the same fate like other commissions and restricted merely to formulating recommendations then it would be of no use, he said.

Mr Burney said that a summary on the proposed commission had been sent to prime minister who would forward it to the president for approval. It also involved awareness among people at grass roots level, he said.

About overwhelming number of condemned prisoners’ appeals pending in courts, he deplored that the long and unending wait had rendered many prisoners mentally ill. Their appeals were pending for 10 to 30 years, he said.

He said that he had requested President Musharraf to commute capital punishment of such convicts into life imprisonment. “If they are hanged then it will become double punishment for them, which itself will be murder of human rights,” he remarked.

“Sixteen prisoners are stuffed in a hell like cell commonly known as kal kothri (which has room for only three),” he said. In some cases, the prisoners’ body parts had to be amputated after they contracted gangrene, he said.

He said that the prime minister had committed special funds for the foreign prisoners who had been languishing in jails even after completing their terms only because they did not have money to pay the fine.

The minister called for changes in the outdated jail manual and said he had written letters to all the four provinces suggesting them to make the cadres of assistant, deputy and superintendent jails at par with those of police.

“Currently an assistant jail superintendent draws a salary of Rs6,500 only,” he revealed.

About registration of an overwhelming number of FIRs against PPP activists, he said that he had talked to caretaker Sindh chief minister, who had promised that he would not allow any political victimisation.
Source: Dawn
Date:1/16/2008