After reports of alleged corrupt practices and torture of prisoners at Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail surfaced, the Punjab inspector-general prisons suspended Assistant Jail Superintendent Muhammad Hasrat and six other wardens of the jail.
The Punjab IG prisons also issued transfer orders of 27 senior and junior wardens of the Adiala jail to other jails in Punjab. Though officially the transfer orders have been issued on an administrative basis, sources said that the officials have been relocated for their alleged involvement in corruption and torturing prisoners.
Sources said that the high-ups transferred 10 head wardens and 17 wardens to other prisons in the province while the assistant jail superintendent, two head wardens and four wardens have also been suspended.
Complaints of alleged ill-treatment and torture of inmates and malpractices in Adiala jail came to the fore recently after a woman approached the Islamabad High Court, accusing the jail authorities of manhandling and torturing her son.
Recently, the Punjab government removed Adiala Jail Superintendent Chaudhry Asghar Ali for allegedly meting out inhumane treatment to PTI leader Shahbaz Gill during his incarceration.
On Saturday, Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah along with two judges visited the jail and inquired from the prisoners about the problems they were facing in jail.
According to the orders issued by the DIG jail Rawalpindi region, of the 10 head wardens, four have been transferred to Gujrat district jail, three to Jehlum jail, two to Chakwal jail and one head warden has been transferred to Mandi Bahuddin jail, while of the 17 wardens, five have been transferred to district jail Gujarat, four to Attock jail, four to Mandi Bahauddin jail, two to Jhelum jail and two to Chakwal jail.
Earlier, the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) had submitted a report to the IHC disclosing alleged corrupt practices and torture of prisoners at the Adiala jail.
The IHC chief justice had remarked during the hearing of a case that prisoners who pay bribes can have the luxury of cell phones and private meetings on jail premises while poor prisoners were deprived of their rights.
The court had warned the superintendent of the Adiala jail that serious action would be taken and an investigation would be conducted if a prisoner complains of mistreatment.
In an earlier incident, a 21-year-old prisoner Shahab Hussain, arrested in an anti-terrorism case, was allegedly stripped and subjected to torture by Adiala jail officials who had demanded a bribe from him.
Hussain’s mother Imtiaz Bibi had filed a petition in the IHC alleging that the jail superintendent and other staff members tortured her son and broke his finger.
Shahab’s mother had alleged that the jail staff demanded a bribe of Rs5,000 from him. She said that the prisoner went on a hunger strike on September 9 and has become extremely weak and was fighting for his survival.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2022.