‘Women prisoners are treated as per SOPs’

From Abid Usman

LAHORE: A two-member committee, formed to probe allegations of mistreatment of women prisoners arrested over May 9 violence, told Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Mohsin Naqvi on Monday that the inmates were being treated as per standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The committee – comprised of SSP Investigation Dr Anoosh Masood and Deputy Commissioner Lahore Rafia Haider – provided a detailed briefing to the Punjab caretaker CM regarding their visit to Kot Lakhpat Jail and their interactions with the women prisoners.

During the meeting, the committee categorically rebuffed the allegations of mistreatment of female inmates, saying that they met everyone separately and questioned them over any mistreatment.

“The women prisoners were being treated as per standard operating procedures (SOPs),” the committee told Punjab CM, adding: “Whatever is being spread on social media is sheer propaganda”.

Speaking on the occasion, SSP Anoosh Masood said that no male can enter the area that houses cells of female prisoners at the Kot Lakhpat Jail. “It’s only for the females,” she added.

Earlier, Lahore SSP Investigation Anoosh Masood – while speaking to journalists outside the jail – said that there is no question of the mistreatment of women prisoners arrested over the May 9 events.

SSP Masood said she and the Lahore deputy commissioner paid a visit inside the Kot Lakhpat jail. She added that every prisoner was being provided medicines even those with breathing and skin issues.

“There is a medical officer present all the time,” SSP Masood said. “I would like to categorically state that the jail only has female staff only.”

Former premier and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan alleged that women are being ‘mistreated’ to pressurise the political leaders.

While addressing PTI workers and supporters via social media, Imran Khan claimed that women are being targeted by the incumbent government in an organised way.

Talking to journalists a day earlier, Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi rejected the impression of ‘mistreatment’ of women protestors in Kot Lakhpat jail and termed it mere propaganda.

The Punjab caretaker CM Mohsin Naqvi said that Khadijah Shah is currently in police custody. All the accused of the Jinnah House attack including Khadija Shah will be prosecuted in accordance with the law, he added.

Mohsin Naqvi said that those who were found guilty in the Jinnah House attack, will not walk free no matter how much influential they are.

He added that 11 women are currently in jail on judicial remand, and there are cameras around the jail and ruled out the impression of ‘mistreatment’ of the incarcerated women.