PAKISTAN: 1,100 Women in Jails, 35 on Death Row

Monday, June 10, 2013
The Peninsula Qatar
Southern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security
Human Rights

Of nearly 75,000 prisoners in jails in Pakistan, around 1,100 are women, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

The misery of the women prisoners is that their families no longer care for them or stay in contact with them to pursue their cases due to social stigma, says an official of the top watchdog.

Quoting figures from the latest report, The State of Human Rights in 2012, the official said the situation was worse for 35 women on death row.

They lack medical assistance as most prisons where women are held do not have full-time women doctors and many do not have any doctors, he said.

“Women in prison are the most vulnerable of detainees in Pakistan,” he added.

The women police centre on Jail Road in Lahore has a lock-up area exposed to passers-by and the bathroom has only four-feet walls, he added.

These violate privacy for women detainees, he said, adding that women are reportedly kept in lock-up beyond the stipulated time, while there are no separate juvenile cells for girls under 18.

The report says at least 41 girls and women were victims of acid attacks in 2012, 15 women had their limbs amputated over suspicion of “immorality”, the heads of 37 were shaved to humiliate them and 49 were set on fire across the country.

The official said a women friendly legislation needed to be implemented. He also asked for government plans and policies for women to end forced conversion.

Women need to be better accommodated in the socio-economic sector by allowing them greater opportunities and safeguarding their rights at workplace, he said.

The official said representation of women in the judiciary needs to be improved by appointing more women as judges. He also said that more women should be appointed in the law enforcement departments, with more resources.