Rights Watch | 10th February 2021

The family of a married woman who was murdered by her stalker staged a protest outside the Rawalpindi Press Club, and appealed to the Prime Minister for immediate justice. The Punjab Bar Council and the Lahore High Court Bar Association threaten to stage protests if FIRs lodged against 32 lawyers involved in the attack on the Islamabad High Court are not discarded. Overcrowding in Punjab’s prisons went down from 146 percent to 37 percent in the past decade.

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Rights Watch

Family of slain woman hold protest against 

The family of a married woman who was murdered by her stalker staged a sit-in with the victim’s body outside the Rawalpindi Press Club on Monday, February 8. Demonstrators claimed that the police have yet to arrest the culprit, and appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Police Inspector General (IG) Inam Ghani for prompt justice.

On January 30, Uzma, a married woman and mother of two, was shot by Qasim in front of her children while on her way to drop them off at a tuition center. The victim was shifted to the Benazir Bhutto Hospital and remained under treatment for a week before she succumbed to her wounds on Monday.

According to the victim’s family, Qasim was harassing Uzma to divorce her husband and marry him instead. Her kin had alerted the accused’s family about his actions, but nothing came of it. After being continuously turned down, Qasim opened fire on her and fled. The protesters allege that although the police had recorded Uzma’s statement on video since the shooting, there has been no progress in the investigation and the accused remains at large.

Sadiqabad police have registered a case under section 302 (intended murder) against Qasim and have stated they are doing their best to trace and apprehend Qasim.

Lawyers bodies threaten protest

Expressing solidarity with the lawyers involved in the attack on the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday, the Punjab Bar Council and the Lahore High Court Bar Association on Tuesday threatened to stage protests if the FIRs lodged against 32 lawyers, including four female advocates, were not withdrawn.

The bodies also called on the government to rebuild chambers which had been bulldozed by the Capital Development Authority (a development which prompted the lawyers to besiege the IHC for nearly three hours) and take action against CDA officials. Moreover, they also demanded the transfer of the Islamabad Deputy Commissioner.

Punjab prison overcrowding goes down by 37%

Overcrowding in Punjab’s prisons went down from 146 percent to 37 percent in the past ten years, according to a report by submitted to the Lahore High Court on behalf of the Inspector General (IG) Prisons during a hearing on a petition seeking transfer of mentally ill inmates to hospitals and addicts to rehabilitation centers.

The report posited that overcrowding was reduced after constructing 11 additional detention facilities: in 2010, 32 jails housed 52,803 inmates. Currently, there are 50,578 inmates spread across 43 prisons. Since 2016, 16,777 inmates have undertaken courses by the Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority, of which 12,882 sat for exams and 12,139 passed.

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