‘Paper lion’ begging for facilities in jail: Firdous

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Amraiz Khan

Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Sunday said that a thug from Sialkot (referring to Khawaja Asif) is in jail these days and when he was in power, he used to make unnecessary hue and cry but now he is begging for facilities. “These thugs have buried the people of Sialkot in the dust. People ask why the one who rolled up his sleeves in the assembly and shouted slogans like “Sher Sher” has become a soaked cat today.”
SACM Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan was talking to the media after a visit to District Jail Sialkot. During the visit she listened to the problems of women prisoners and assured them of providing them with facilities including legal aid. Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that Maharaja Ranjit Singh had built a stable for his horses which was given the status of District Jail Sialkot in 1863. She said at present there are 62 death row inmates in Sialkot District Jail while 265 incarcerated prisoners including 3 foreign inmates, 43 civil inmates, 32 women and 10 children.

She said the total number of prisoners with 1488 detainees is 1872 and two water filtration plants have been installed in the jail. A school has been set up for the education of children and Tevta is also providing technical training to the prisoners, she further said. Dr Firdous said that a multi-storey barracks is being constructed at a cost of Rs 45 million to increase the capacity of the jail, besides washroom and laundry block at a cost of Rs 2 million and a 20-bed hospital for drug addicts at a cost of Rs 20 million. She said that inmates of 24 jails across the province have been provided with the facility of Punjab PC Foundation’s funds. She said that anti-corona counters have also been set up in all the jails. She said after successful conduct in District Jail Lahore, work is underway to set up Personal Management Information System (PMIS) in 20 Jails of Punjab. Meanwhile, the ongoing program with the help of Punjab Information Technology Board would improve the management of prisons and inmates.

The SACM said that facilities like immediate redressal of grievances, provision of facilities to prisoners, video trial of prisoners will be available. She said that prisoners or their relatives can lodge a complaint regarding ill-treatment of any prisoner in the jail. Referring to Kh Asif, Dr Firdous said that even poet of the East would be sitting in the spirit thinking that he had dreamed of a country for the falcons and where did these political vultures come from in his city? She said that Iqbal had dreamed for free-spirited people.

Where did this slave Ibn Ghulam come from? Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan while briefing the media about the operation carried out by the local government body in Sialkot regarding illegal encroachments in Cantt Housing said that the owners of Cantt Housing are Musarat Asif wife of Kh Asif, Tawheed Akhtar, Zahid Maqbool, Shahid Maqbool, Naveed Akhtar and Saira Iqbal, daughter of Muhammad Iqbal who got approval for 137 kanals in 2017 and under the Punjab Housing Scheme Rules 2010 the scheme owners transferred the area of roads, parks and public buildings to the department.

She said that an illegal commercial plaza was constructed on the site of the park on about 13 marlas, adding that the owners of the illegal plaza were issued several notices by the department to demolish the illegal building from the government land but they turned a deaf ear to the notices. She said the building was finally sealed by the concerned authorities but the owners of the said housing scheme took the law into their own hands and broke the seals. She said that action has been taken as per rules today and the illegal building that was built on the public park had been demolished.