November 12th, 2020
Shabbir Hussain Gigyani, a senior lawyer of the Peshawar High Court (PHC), has filed a writ petition against a serious lack of medical facilities for prisoners convicted by military courts. Gigyani claims to have a list of around 50 inmates who are suffering from a host of medical complications including jaundice, psychological issues, diabetes, asthma, and other illnesses.
According to Gigyani some of these people are in serious medical distress but have not received due medical treatment, which is a serious violation of their fundamental human rights highlighted in the constitution of Pakistan.
“I decided to file this petition when I found out about the case of a convict who died due to a lack of treatment, while his petition was still pending in the Peshawar High Court,” said Gigyani. “And even though the matter was pending before the courts the jail authorities did not bother to inform the PHC instead they tried to sweep the issue under the carpet. The 50 names I have included in my writ petition are also suffering from similar circumstances. Many of these people are suffering from severe illnesses that require special attention. Their treatment is not even possible in the District Headquarter Hospital (DHQ) let alone inside the jail. The jail authorities assert that many of these inmates are under the constant supervision of the ‘security forces’ and they have had strict instructions from these security forces not to move these prisoners without permission from the relevant authorities,” he informs.
Sultan Murad, an inmate convicted by the military courts about four years ago is suffering from chronic diabetes and has a foot injury as well. He is currently being detained at the Mardan Jail where is he is not receiving requisite medical attention.
According to Waqar Ali, lawyer Peshawar High Court, access to proper medical treatment is a basic human right provided to inmates by the constitution of Pakistan.
“The jail manual is clear about such cases,” he says. “If a prisoner cannot be treated properly in jail then they should be instantly transferred to the DHQ and if the prisoner cannot be treated in the DHQ either then he or she can apply for bail on medical grounds,” elaborates Waqar.
Repeated attempts were made to approach the superintendent of Mardan Jail regarding the matter but he failed to respond. The PHC has ordered the superintendent of Mardan Jail to submit a report about the matter.