129 Afghan ‘illegal immigrants’ with 178 children in Sindh jails: Sharjeel

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Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon on Friday said 129 Afghan female illegal immigrants were jailed in the province with 178 children but insisted the minors were not under arrest.

The media talk comes after a picture of jailed children, smiling behind bars went viral over social media yesterday, triggering fury from activists and politicians. Addressing a press conference in Karachi, the PPP leader clarified that the 178 children “staying with their mothers in the jails are not under arrest”.

“The law states that if any child is under the age of seven years, they may be allowed to stay with their mother in jail,” he said. “Where will the children go when their father is also in jail?”Memon insisted that the viral picture was not from any jail in Sindh.

“Let me tell once again that the picture is not from any Sindh jail,” he said. “I’m repeating that Sindh doesn’t have any jail where this picture was taken.” He maintained that the children were kept as “inmates and not as prisoners”.

“No child is in jail because of the government. Whenever they are arrested, the FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) takes them to the court.” Memon said courts had allowed the children to stay with their mothers in jail. He said out of the 129 arrested females, 75 were under-trial prisoners whereas 54 were convicted for two months.

“Their conviction will end in January,” Memon said. “Nobody has been sentenced to jail for more than two months.” The minister added that the 54 females will be deported from the country after their release, along with their children, following the directives of the federal government.