SHC orders Sindh govt to submit reply in under trial cases

KARACHI:Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday gave the Sindh government more time to submit its reply on a plea regarding delays in under-trial cases.

A two-member bench of SHC directed the provincial government to submit its response by next hearing on November 17. A state counsel appeared before the court and sought more time to comply with its order, which was granted.

The petitioner stated that prisoners in multiple under-trial cases instituted before 2010 have already served half the sentences even without conclusion of their trial. He said the province’s prisons house more inmates than they are allowed to keep as per their sanctioned capacity.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Human Rights had furnished a report to the Supreme Court on the measures it had been taking to contain the spread of the coronavirus among inmates, painting a grim picture of conditions in the country’s overpopulated prisons. The report stated prisons across Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are packed beyond capacity.

The report said Punjab’s 41 prisons house a total of 45,324 inmates, far more than the existing capacity of 32,000. Sindh’s 24 prisons are too overpopulated with 16,315 prisoners. The total sanctioned strength of the province’s jails is 13,538.

Whereas, the situation in KP’s jails is no different where 9,900 prisoners have been incarcerated in 24 jails which should house 4,519. However, Balochistan’s prisons with the sanctioned capacity of housing 2,550 inmates have only 2,122 prisoners.