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Because Pakistan has largely failed to establish the juvenile institutions provided for in its laws, the vast majority of convicted children, as well as those who are under trial, are held in prisons-usually in separate wards, but sometimes in the same cells as adults. In either circumstance, children experience conditions that are similar to those of the prison population at large: overcrowding, harsh disciplinary measures, lack of vocational and educational training, and scant opportunities for recreation. These exigencies are all the more onerous for juveniles because of their youth and their low conviction rate; many endure deprivation and abuse for months or years while awaiting trials that ultimately result in their acquittal.

International Standards

The U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty includes an exhaustive set of guidelines on the conditions under which juvenile prisoners are held. The U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners does the same for prisoners generally; its application is extended "to the treatment of juvenile offenders in institutions" under Rule 27 of the U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the "Beijing Rules"). These standards, although nonbinding, have been adopted as resolutions by the General Assembly; they represent the international community's consensus on the minimum standards under which a state may confine children.

According to the U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles, children should be provided a physical environment designed with the aim of rehabilitation and with regard to their need for privacy, sensory stimuli, opportunities for association with peers and participation in sports, physical exercise and leisure time activities.63 Every juvenile should be provided with separate and clean bedding, and a sufficient quantity of nutritious and hygienically-prepared food.64 Juveniles of compulsory school age have the right to an education suited to their needs and abilities, and designed to prepare them for their return to society.65 In addition, all juveniles have the right to vocational training likely to prepare them for futureemployment.66 The Rules also provide for preventive and remedial medical care, including mental health care.67

The U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners similarly require that facilities provide prisoners separate beds and clean bedding, adequate sanitary and bathing installations, and well-prepared, nutritious meals.68 Young prisoners should additionally receive physical and recreational training with adequate space, installations, and equipment, and vocational training in useful trades.69

Prison Rules

Pakistan has a common prison manual in effect throughout the country. Known as the Pakistan Prison Rules, the manual grew out of the federal government's Jail Reforms Conference of 1972 and was adopted by the provinces in 1978.70 Chapter 12 of the Rules, governing "juvenile and youthful offenders,"71 mandates the separation of children and adults, the engagement of children in "sustained work," and the provision of recreational facilities.72 For convicts, it requires classes in reading, writing, and arithmetic, religious instruction for Muslim children, and vocational training.73 The Rules further require "careful individual attention" for all juveniles, as well as "careful arrangements for their future after discharge," and advise prison officials that "[t]he stimulus of personal touch and interest will be found far more effective than a rigid insistence on prison routine."74

In other respects, the Rules reflect the colonial-era laws on which they are based; this is particularly so with regard to the harsh disciplinary measures that they provide for, described later in this chapter. In 1997, the Pakistan Law Commission-a statutory body chaired by the Chief Justice of Pakistan and charged with reviewing, reforming, and developing the country's legal and judicial system-issued a report on jail reform that frankly assessed conditions in the country's prisons and included proposals to amend both the Rules and existing legislation.75 The report met with a favorable reception from local NGOs concerned with prisoners' rights, whose own findings and proposals it in many ways echoed. The commission's recommendations, however, have gone largely unimplemented since the report's release.

Pakistan's Prison System

Pakistan's eighty-two prisons are classified into several categories, based on administrative level, size, and function. At the apex of the prison system are the twenty-two central prisons, which are designed to house over one thousand inmates each.76 Although they were originally intended for the confinement of convicted prisoners,77 the central prisons presently accommodate both convicts and prisoners held pending completion of their trials. The district jails represent by far the largest category, numbering over forty, and typically have capacities of three hundred to five hundred prisoners each.78 In Punjab, they are authorized to hold prisoners undergoing trial as well as convicts sentenced to terms of less than two months; convicts sentenced to longer terms are transferred to central prisons.79 Below these are sub-jails, most of which are in the North-West Frontier Province, and judicial lockups, where criminal suspects may be detained on judicial remand. In addition, there are a handful of special prisons, including the juvenile institutions at Bahawalpur and Karachi (which are discussed in the following chapter) and the women's jails at Multan in Punjab, and Larkana in Sindh.

Human Rights Watch visited the juvenile wards of two large, urban prisons in Punjab: Lahore District Jail and Rawalpindi Central Prison. Conditions varied considerably between the two institutions, with the facilities being appreciably superior at Rawalpindi. According to an Islamabad-based lawyer who has visited prisons in different parts of Pakistan, Lahore District Jail is more representative of Pakistani prisons than the newer, better-maintained institution at Rawalpindi.80


Lahore District Jail

As the table below indicates, the juvenile ward of Lahore District Jail accommodates nearly three times as many inmates as it was designed to hold, a level of overcrowding that reflects conditions in the prison as a whole.


Under trial



Total capacity



Total population




Juvenile ward capacity



Juvenile population




Table 4.1: Statistics for Lahore District Jail, April 199881

As is the case with about half of the prisons in Pakistan, the District Jail was built during the colonial period-specifically, in 1930-and the age of the facility is reflected in its spartan accommodations. The juvenile ward is a two-story building, divided into four halls. Lining either side of each hall are eight raised cement platforms. Although lacking mattresses, these platforms serve as beds, as do the floor spaces between them. The prisoners appear to be responsible for providing their own bedding; one boy told Human Rights Watch that the blanket he had was his own property, while another said he had been given a blanket by a fellow prisoner. Both of the halls that we visited had fans overhead, but in one thefans were not operating. Based on interviews with children in the ward, it appeared that at least two halls lacked working fans. Each hall had a clean squat toilet and a door that was high enough to ensure privacy; the wooden door to one, however, had a sizable hole. According to the prison superintendent, Zia Ullah, running water is available at fixed times each day.82

The ward overlooks a courtyard, in which children are allowed to roam freely between sunrise and sunset. Zia Ullah told Human Rights Watch that the children were provided with balls and cards. However, children whom we interviewed said they had no recreational equipment, other than a donated television in one of the halls.

The juvenile ward accommodates not only juveniles, defined by the Pakistan Prison Rules as male prisoners who were under the age of eighteen at the time of their conviction,83 but also young adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one. According to Zia Ullah, juveniles and young adults are assigned to different halls according to their age: children under sixteen are separated from those between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one.84 However, there appeared to be no residential separation between sixteen and seventeen year-olds on one hand, and those aged eighteen to twenty-one, on the other. Additionally, inmates of all ages up to twenty-one could easily mix in the courtyard, although two prisoners under sixteen said in practice there was no interaction between older and younger boys there.85

Zia Ullah told us that prisoners are allowed to write and mail letters, but that these are censored by his subordinate staff. Rule 546 of the Pakistan Prison Rules, in fact, requires the examination of all letters that inmates send or receive. By contrast, the Punjab Borstal Rules, drafted to govern institutions established under the Punjab Borstal Act, grant borstal superintendents discretion to censor correspondence.86 This is a preferable formulation, as it does not impose a requirement of censorship and reserves authority to censor correspondence with the superintendent. With regard to juveniles, the Prison Rules should at least be consistent with this provision.

Rawalpindi Central Prison

Despite being a relatively new facility, built in 1986, Rawalpindi Central Prison was grossly overcrowded by 1998, operating at about twice its rated capacity.


Under trial



Total capacity



Total population




Juvenile population




Table 4.2: Statistics for Rawalpindi Central Prison, May 11, 199887

The juvenile ward is a horseshoe-shaped building, formed by three adjoining barracks and separated by a gate from the rest of the prison. One of the barracks is reserved for children under the age of fifteen while the others house those between the ages of fifteen and eighteen. On either side of each dormitory are the inmates' beds-cement platforms, similar to those in Lahore District Jail, but covered by mattresses. The number of beds available, however, falls considerably short of the number of boys in each dormitory. The barracks have fans overhead, and in one corner of the ward there are five squat toilets. Enclosed within the ward is a lawn where, according to one of the prisoners, the boys are allowed to play football (soccer). A prison warden told Human Rights Watch that there is a separate ward for young adults, aged eighteen to twenty-two years.

Two children in the juvenile ward said that prisoners are permitted visits of up to half an hour, as provided for in the Prison Rules.88 The conditions under which visits are held, however, are abysmal. Near the entrance to the jail is a large, rectangular cell where the inmates and visitors meet. An iron grille separates the prisoners from their visitors, both of whom stand in large groups during their encounters. The din produced by the acoustics of the cell and the multitudegathered there makes conversation difficult if not impossible, while the dense grille obscures the view inmates and visitors have of each other.89

The Central Prison was subject to a surprise inspection in December 1998 by the Divisional Khidmat (Service) Committee, one of five hundred local committees constituted by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) in April 1998 with the mandate of hearing complaints and intervening in matters related to the functioning of government departments.90 One visitor to the prison told members of the committee that jail staff were demanding payment of Rs. 500 ($10) in order to arrange separate meetings with prisoners. Another said that visitors who wished to convey gifts to prisoners were also subject to extortion by jail staff.91

Other Prisons

Shahid Alam was thirteen years old in September 1994 when he was transferred from a police lockup, where he had spent three months, to Sahiwal Central Prison, in Punjab. He painted a bleak portrait of conditions at Sahiwal, where he remained for a year. "Sahiwal is a very strict prison," Alam said. "It is overcrowded, there is a shortage of water, and the toilet is a dry latrine, made of brick."92

Adults and children freely mix in some of Pakistan's smaller prisons. "In big jails, where there is space, we keep them [juveniles] strictly segregated from adults," said Zain-ul-Abideen, Inspector-General of Prisons for the North-West Frontier Province. "But unfortunately our prisons are overcrowded, so in small jails we can't keep them in a separate facility unless it's a small barrack-whichwould be cruel in and of itself."93 The Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 37(c), requires the separation of adults and children "unless it is considered in the child's best interests not to do so." The child's best interests are not served by generalized commingling with adult prisoners.

In all prisons, two other categories of juvenile prisoners are ordinarily held with adult prisoners: children sentenced to death and girls. Children sentenced to death are held with adults in separate wards for condemned prisoners. Girls and adult women are almost always housed together in the women's wards of prisons, or in one of the two separate facilities established for women, at Larkana, in Sindh, and Multan, in Punjab. According to AGHS, prison officials rarely record girls separately from adult women, preventing an accurate assessment of their numbers.94

Medical Care and Nutrition

The U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles require the provision of adequate preventive and remedial mental health care, including dental, opthalmological and mental health care, and immediate access to adequate medical facilities and equipment.95 The U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners state that every institution shall retain the services of at least one qualified medical officer.96 For institutions that have hospital facilities, the Standard Minimum Rules further require proper equipment, furnishings, and pharmaceutical supplies, as well as a staff of suitably trained officers.97 The Pakistan Prison Rules require each prison to maintain a hospital on the premises;98 staffed by a medical officer, a junior medical officer, and a dispenser.99 However, there are no guidelines specifying the medications or medical equipment to be maintained in the facilities.

The hospital in Rawalpindi Central Prison has two doctors on staff and is equipped with fifty beds, an operating room, a laboratory, and a dispensary, according to the deputy superintendent, Kasim Baloch. The prison budget covers the purchase of medicines, he said, and the hospital's resources are augmented by donations from nongovernmental organizations.100 Lahore District Jail's hospital consists of two rooms, with twelve beds each, staffed by two medical officers and two dispensers, according to superintendent Zia Ullah.101 By the government's own admission, however, the standard of care provided throughout the prison system is plainly inadequate. In its 1997 report on jail reform, the Pakistan Law Commission noted that "[i]n all prisons, the hospitals are without proper laboratories, equipments and necessary medicines."102

Access to medical care itself is a critical problem. The U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles require the prompt examination by a medical officer of "[e]very juvenile who is ill, complains of illness or who demonstrates symptoms of physical or mental difficulties."103 The Pakistan Prison Rules similarly state that "[e]very prisoner complaining of illness shall be brought before the Medical Officer or the junior Medical Officer who shall examine him and determine whether he shall be treated as an out-patient or admitted to the hospital."104 A seventeen-year-old inmate of Rawalpindi Central Prison painted a picture that was at considerable variance with these provisions. "The head warden's permission is needed to go to the clinic," he told Human Rights Watch. "At times it's easily granted, at times not."105 According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent NGO, medical officers frequently abuse their authority to provide treatment. "Those without money are denied even ordinary medical treatment," the commission stated in a 1996 report on Pakistan's penal system, adding, "Often denial of medical care is used as a form of punishment in our prisons."106

The U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles state that juveniles shall receive food "of a quality and quantity to satisfy the standards of dietetics, hygiene, and health."107 The Pakistan Prison Rules prescribe the meals that prisoners are tobe provided with considerable specificity. Prisoners are entitled to 58 grams [2 ounces] of milk every day at breakfast, along with roti (unleavened bread) and tea.108 Their midday and evening meals are supposed to consist of dal (lentils), vegetables, and roti; twice a week, beef is to be substituted for dal at the rate of 58 grams per prisoner.109 In reality, milk, vegetables, and beef are frequently absent from their diet. As one juvenile in Rawalpindi told Human Rights Watch, "We have dal and a cup of tea for breakfast, and dal and two roti for lunch. It's the same for dinner [as for lunch]."110

Education and Vocational Training

For children held in prisons other than juvenile institutions, the Prison Rules provide that "efforts shall be made to teach the Nimaz [prayer], elementary education, and industrial training under proper supervision."111 Such efforts, however, are generally expended only with regard to religious education, which the Rules state "shall be compulsory for all prisoners."112 According to Zia Ullah, the Lahore District Jail has no facilities for secular education or vocational training, but a government-appointed teacher leads mandatory classes in Islam, lasting from three to four hours each day.113 The teacher also holds classes in hifz, or memorization of the Quran. Prisoners have a strong incentive to complete hifz: those who can demonstrate their ability to recite the Quran from memory before an examination board are entitled to a remission in their sentence of up to two years.114 Islamic education is similarly made the priority at Rawalpindi Central Prison, where according to the deputy superintendent, Kasim Baloch, it has been "very helpful and shown positive results."115 Baloch told Human Rights Watch that the prison staff includes an Islamic teacher, who provides religious education for three hours each day, as well as classes in hifz. Secular subjects, on the other hand, are taught by adult prisoners-who Baloch said were teachers before theirincarceration-for three hours each morning.116 "The classes are held within the halls," said Fayaz Iqbal, a seventeen-year-old inmate, adding, "One of the prisoners, who has a M.A., teaches."117 Despite the makeshift nature of the arrangement, Iqbal appeared to have kept up with his studies since his arrival in the prison fifteen months earlier. "I am a student of class nine," he said. "I took all the arts subjects in the jail, and have appeared for the matric [matriculation] examination."118

The Prison Rules set a higher standard for the provision of education to convicted juveniles than to undertrial juveniles. Under the Rules, education is mandatory for juveniles sentenced to a prison term of one year or more. All such convicts "shall be brought under a course of Instruction, in reading, writing, and arithmetic for two hours daily," and "[t]he standard of education will be up to the Matric standard as laid down for schools by the Education Department." Prison superintendents are furthermore authorized to "raise the standard and to increase the subjects taught, in the case of promising boys, "119 a provision that should be amended to cover all children, irrespective of gender. The Rules do not require the provision of education to undertrial children, who form the overwhelming majority of the juvenile prison population.

The education of convicted children in the juvenile institutions at Bahawalpur and Karachi will be discussed in the next chapter. Zain-ul-Abideen, the Inspector General of Prisons for the North-West Frontier Province, noted that an educational and vocational training center for juveniles had been established at Haripur Central Prison, where both convicted and undertrial children are held. The provincial government, he said, employed teachers of both secular and religious subjects in the training center. In addition, convicted children were required to undergo "training in traditional jail industries-carpetmaking, handicrafts, and stitching."120

The U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles recognize the right of every juvenile to practice his or her religion, including through the attendance of "services and meetings provided in the detention facility" and "the possession of the necessary books and items of religious observance and instruction...."121 The U.N. Rules are equally clear that religious education shall neither be compulsory,122 nor the sole component of a juvenile's education. The Rules state that "[e]very juvenile of compulsory school age has the right to education suited to his or her needs and abilities and designed to prepare him or her for return to society."123 Pakistani law clearly encourages vocational training and education up to and beyond matriculation for juvenile prisoners, and requires them in the case of juvenile convicts. In this regard, the Pakistan Prison Rules appropriately emphasize the need to prepare children for their reintegration into society. According to Rule 297, a juvenile should either choose or be assigned training in an industry "which he may follow after release to enable him to earn an honest living."

The Pakistan Law Commission's report recognizes that "in fact no proper and organized system for imparting education to [the] prisoner exists."124 The report further states:

It is recommended that in every Jail, facilities should be established for the purpose of general as well as vocational and technical education to prisoners. They should also be provided facilities to acquire higher qualification. Such facilities should include class rooms, qualified teachers and reading material.125

The Law Commission duly notes in its report that the large majority of prisoners in Pakistan have not been convicted.126 With regard to the provision of education, the Commission significantly makes no distinction between convicts and inmates who are under trial.

Disciplinary Measures

The punishments provided for in the Prison Rules include placement in solitary confinement; the use of handcuffs, chain links, and bar fetters; whipping; and assignment to hard labor.127 These measures are antiquated, draconian, and sharply at variance with international human rights norms. The U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty state that "[a]ll disciplinary measures constituting cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment shall be strictly prohibited, including corporal punishment, placement in a dark cell, closed or solitary confinement or any other punishment that may compromise the physical or mental health of the juvenile concerned."128 The U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners also prohibit without exception the use of "corporal punishment, punishment by placing in a dark cell, and all cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments as disciplinary measures."129

Although the Lahore High Court has banned the placement of juveniles in chain links or bar fetters,130 restraints continue to be employed on children in some facilities. During its surprise inspection of Rawalpindi Central Prison in December 1998, the Divisional Khidmat Committee found six children in the juvenile ward in chain links.131

The Prison Rules themselves make no distinction between the punishments that may be imposed on juveniles and those that adults may receive, except with respect to whipping. A prisoner under the age of sixteen years may receive no more than fifteen lashes, while prisoners over sixteen years may receive up to thirty.132 Although Human Rights Watch did not encounter any cases inwhich superintendents had ordered the whipping of juveniles, the law authorizing the use of whipping for disciplinary purposes in prisons-the Prisons Act of 1894-remains in force, in clear violation of international standards prohibiting the use of corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure. Paradoxically, the Abolition of the Punishment of Whipping Act, passed in 1996, prohibits courts from ordering the whipping of any prisoner as part of their sentence (except when imposed as a hadd punishment).133 Recognizing the disparity between the two Acts, the Pakistan Law Commission proposed amending the Prisons Act to bar whipping as a punishment for offenses committed in prison.134

Under the Pakistan Prison Rules, labor can only be assigned to convicts,135 who form a relatively small proportion of the juvenile population. This provision nevertheless contravenes the U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty which, under Rule 67, prohibits the use of labor as a disciplinary sanction.

Solitary confinement, on the other hand, is regularly ordered by prison authorities for a sweeping range of infractions, whether committed by convicts or prisoners who are under trial.136 According to Lahore District Jail Superintendent Zia Ullah, confinement is the main disciplinary measure imposed on juveniles in his prison.

The Prison Rules draw a distinction between "separate confinement," in which a prisoner is allowed to exercise for at least one hour per day and to take meals in the company of one or more prisoners, and "cellular confinement," in which a prisoner is entirely secluded from communication with other prisoners. For "minor" offenses, prisoners may be kept in separate confinement for no more than fourteen days, and in cellular confinement for no more than seven days. For "major" offenses, separate confinement may be ordered for up to three months, and cellular confinement for up to fourteen days.137 Neither major nor minor offensesare adequately defined in the Rules,138 and local human rights lawyers told us that solitary confinement orders generally entail cellular confinement.

According to Zia Ullah, juveniles in Lahore District Jail may be held in solitary confinement for periods of up to thirty days-a term which exceeds by two weeks the maximum length of time permitted by the Prison Rules. Prisoners placed in confinement, he said, are deprived of all rights, including letter writing and visits.139 The latter conditions are contrary to the U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles, which state that the "restriction or denial of contact with family members should be prohibited for any purpose."140

In exceptional cases, Human Rights Watch found, juveniles are held in confinement for even longer periods. Seventeen-year-old Noor Mohammad told us that prior to his conviction on charges of gang rape, he was held in solitary confinement in Faisalabad District Jail for two months and twenty-eight days. During his time in the cell, he said, prison authorities repeatedly subjected him to beatings. According to Mohammad, his confinement was based not on any offense that he had committed while in prison, but on the nature of the crime that he was charged with.141

The Prison Rules grant superintendents sole authority to award punishments, and leave prisoners no recourse for appeal.142 The Law Commission noted the inherent risks in such an arrangement and proposed granting a right of appeal to prisoners. "With a view to check the abuse/misuse of authority by [a] jail superintendent,"143 the commission recommended amending the Prisons Act so that "[t]he offences falling under major punishments shall be appealed before the Inspector-General, Prisons, whose order shall be final."144

Aside from prescribed punishments, there are informal means of enforcing discipline that are often excessive. The Prison Rules permit superintendents to appoint convicts as prison officers if they meet certain qualifications, with respect to offense, time served, and conduct.145 Among the duties they may be assignedare to "patrol the inside of the ward and assist in maintaining discipline at night," and to "assist in quelling any disturbance."146 Yusuf Ramzan, a thirteen-year-old in Rawalpindi Central Prison, said that adult prisoners deputized as watchmen would sometimes beat juveniles for fighting among themselves.147

Although the Prison Rules do not explicitly preclude the appointment of adult prisoners to supervise juvenile wards, the practice is clearly contrary to other provisions contained therein. Rule 296 states that "there must, on no account, be opportunity for conversation or communication with adults." Rule 302 provides for the employment of a prisoner as an instructor, but it attaches the caveat that "[he] shall, on no pretext, be left alone with the juveniles." More critically, the use of inmates to police juvenile wards contravenes the U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles, which stress the need for professional staff, with specialized training related to children.148

Training of Jail Staff

The Prisons Act of 1894 requires the provincial government to designate a superintendent and a deputy superintendent for each prison.149 Subordinate to the deputy superintendent are the assistant superintendents, chief warder or senior head warder, head warders, and warders.150 The Prison Rules require male warders to have attained at least a "middle standard" education, although the Rules permit the Inspector General of Prisons to relax that requirement by a special or general order.151 A lower threshold is set for the educational level of women warders, who are required only to be literate.152

The U.N. Rules state that "personnel should be appointed as professional officers with adequate remuneration to attract and retain suitable women and men."153 In addition,

The personnel should receive such training as will enable them to carry out their responsibilities effectively, in particular training in child psychology, child welfare and international standards and norms of human rights and the rights of the child, including the present Rules. The personnel should maintain and improve their knowledge and professional capacity by attending courses of in-service training, to be organized at suitable intervals throughout their career.154

Aside from employing inmates as prison officers, Pakistan's prison administration deviates from this prescription with respect to the training and qualifications of its professional staff. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan,

A majority of the jail staff are without formal training, education, and aptitude for their challenging and sensitive assignments. These weaknesses are compounded by job dissatisfaction and personal frustration. The jail officials are accorded a low status in the administration and are poorly paid....155 Promotion in this service is very slow....156

The Central Jail Staff Training Institute, a branch of the Interior Ministry, is located in Lahore, in a facility that was originally designed as a borstal institution.157 Plans to upgrade the institute to a national corrections academy, drawn up in 1981, appear to have been shelved, along with the allocation of land for the academy in Islamabad. Abdul Majeed Ahmed Auolakh, the principal of the institute since 1977, is widely acclaimed by local NGOs for his efforts to impart human rights training to jail staff and to promote penal law reform, including juvenile justice legislation. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the institute "with extremely meagre financial and human resources is doing exceptionally good work not only for the Prison and Probation/Parole Departments, but also for the prisoners."158

Auolakh told Human Rights Watch that jail staff of all ranks attend courses at the institute that last from fifteen days to six months. While he said there was no course dedicated to the rights and treatment of child prisoners, the subject is incorporated in an initial six month training course for assistant superintendents, as well as in subsequent refresher courses of four months duration. NGOs-including Prison Reform International and AGHS-have given guest lectures on juvenile issues, he said.159 Juvenile justice appears to be covered from the vantage points of both Pakistani and international law. "In our classes, we teach the Beijing Rules," said Muhammad Masood Khan, the institute's senior lecturer.160

The problem, in fact, appears to be not so much one of content, but of attendance. Although Rule 1129 of the Pakistan Prison Rules requires prison warders to complete a four-month training course in prison rules and regulations, its application has been curtailed by the frequent refusal of provincial prison authorities to permit the attendance of new recruits. Citing an inadequate prisoner to staff ratio as justification for their non-compliance, the authorities have compelled the institute to abbreviate its courses, sometimes drastically. Training courses for warders in Punjab have been reduced from four to just three months. The situation in Sindh is even worse, with institute staff having to conduct field training courses for warders, of no more than three weeks' duration, in the various jails of the province. The Prison Rules do not require the training of assistant superintendents, but their completion of the Institute's initial six-month course is usually mandated by their appointment orders.161

Sexual Abuse

An April 11, 1999, uprising by children in the juvenile ward of Punjab's Sahiwal Central Prison dramatically shed light on the sexual abuse of juvenile inmates by prison staff as well as the lack of effective complaints mechanisms. The incident was set off when members of the prison staff beat Aslam, a thirteen-year-old boy in the juvenile ward, for complaining of sexual abuse by Zulfiqar, the head warder. Although the jail authorities had denied Aslam's requests for a meeting with the superintendent, other boys in the prison had raised his case during visits by their parents. The parents in turn informed Syed Alamdar Hussain Shah,a Sahiwal legal aid lawyer. Shah obtained permission from the inspector-general of prisons for Punjab to visit the prison, but was prevented from meeting any of the juveniles by the prison superintendent.162

The jail staff's blunt retaliation against Aslam set off a violent reaction on the part of the juvenile prisoners. According to a local journalist who documented the case, the boys broke the wall of the prison cell in which they were locked, and set fire to the gallows as well as prison furniture. The riot was suppressed shortly thereafter by the Frontier Constabulary, who had been summoned by the prison staff.163 The clash resulted in injuries to nearly twenty children, including six who reportedly remained in the jail hospital three weeks after the riot. Shah said that the Sahiwal deputy commissioner had rejected his application for an independent medical examination of the children.164

The deputy inspector-general of prisons, Captain Sarfraz Mufti, visited the prison on April 13, and ordered the suspension of Zulfiqar, as well as Malik Ijaz, an assistant superintendent, and Abdullah, a warder. On the recommendation of the prison superintendent, criminal cases were registered the same day against ten of the boys for rioting and damaging prison property.165

Aslam's case was unfortunately far from unique. Shah told us that he has received many reports of sexual abuse of juveniles in Sahiwal Central Prison, by both prison staff and adult inmates. He noted that prison authorities sometimes held up to five or six boys in a cell with adult prisoners.166 However, determining the extent of sexual abuse of children in other detention facilities remains difficult. One study of three Punjab jails, conducted in 1992 on the orders of Lahore High Court Chief Justice Mehboob Ahmed, found that forty-four of 200 children examined had been sodomized. However, the study compromised its own data by presenting such cases exclusively as the result of intercourse among juveniles. Thereport included the results of a medical examination of 116 children in Lahore District Jail.

[The examination] revealed that sodomy had been committed with 19 of the children, while another 14 children were suspected to have been victimized. In all of the cases in which sodomy was positively identified, the abuse was characterized as `habitual.'"167

Auolakh of the Central Jail Staff Training Institute elaborated on the medical examiner's conclusions. "They reported to the District Health Officer that the children had the habit of homosexuality," he said. "The doctors declared that it was from outside [the prison]."168

In some prisons, the authority exercised by gangs compounds the risk posed by the lack of effective separation between juveniles and adults. The daily Dawn reported in October 1998 that a 150-strong tribally-based gang in Jhang District Jail, in Sindh province, was engaged in activities "ranging from openly selling narcotics to criminally assaulting small children in the adjacent children's jail, `Munda Khana.'"169

63 U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, G.A. res. 45/113, annex, 45 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49A) at 205, U.N. Doc. A/45/49 (1990), Rule 32.

64 Ibid., Rules 33, 37.

65 Ibid., Rule 38.

66 Ibid., Rule 42.

67 Ibid., Rule 49.

68 U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, adopted Aug. 30, 1955, by the First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, U.N. Doc. A/CONF/611, annex I, E.S.C. res. 663C, 24 U.N. ESCOR Supp. (No. 1) at 11, U.N. Doc. E/3048 (1957), amended E.S.C. res. 2076, 62 U.N. ESCOR Supp. (No. 1) at 35, U.N. Doc. E/5988 (1977), Rules 12, 13, 19, 20(1).

69 Ibid., Rules 21(2), 71(5).

70 Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, A Penal System Long Overdue for Change, Lahore, 1996, p. 7.

71 The Rules define "juvenile" as a male prisoner "who at the time of conviction was under eighteen years of age," and "youthful offender" as "a male juvenile who, when convicted was fifteen years of age." Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 280. Rule 230 states that "[w]omen prisoners will be classified in the same manner as is provided in the case of male prisoners." In practice, as noted earlier, prison authorities rarely maintain a separate register of juvenile females and usually house them together with adult women.

72 Ibid., Rules 294-296, 299.

73 Ibid., Rules 297, 298.

74 Ibid., Rule 295.

75 Established under the Law Commission Ordinance (XIV) of 1979, the Pakistan Law Commission includes among its members the chief justices of the Federal Shariat Court and each of the provincial high courts, as well as the federal secretary for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. Pakistan Law Commission, "Report on Jail Reform, 1997," p. 1.

76 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 5(I).

77 Ibid., Rule 3(ii).

78 Some of the larger district jails have higher rated capacities. Lahore District Jail, for example, is designed to accommodate one thousand prisoners.

79 Human Rights Watch interview with Captain Sarfraz Mufti, Deputy Inspector-General of Prisons, Government of Punjab, Lahore, May 8, 1998.

80 Human Rights Watch interview with Anees Jillani, Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), Islamabad, May 14, 1998.

81 Human Rights Watch interview with Zia Ullah, Superintendent, District Jail, Lahore, May 21, 1998.

82 Ibid.

83 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 280.

84 The Pakistan Prison Rules require the separation of convicted prisoners under the age of sixteen from those aged sixteen and older. Ibid., Rule 232(iv).

85 Human Rights Watch interviews with juvenile ward inmates, District Jail, Lahore, May 21, 1998.

86 "The Superintendent may peruse every letter written by or addressed to an inmate and may for any reason that he considers sufficient refuse to issue or deliver any such letter and may destroy the same after informing the inmate concerned." Punjab Borstal Rules, Rule 16(1).

87 Population statistics provided to Human Rights Watch by Kasim Baloch, Deputy Superintendent, Central Prison, Rawalpindi, on May 15, 1998. Prison capacity provided to Human Rights Watch by a security guard at the Central Prison, Rawalpindi, May 15, 1998.

88 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 558.

89 The Law Commission acknowledged the inadequacy of the meeting areas and called for their renovation: "The conditions of such meeting places...are stated to be deplorable. It is recommended that proper facilities, such as fans and chairs, etc. should be made available in the meeting halls for the comfort of prisoners and their relatives/friends." Pakistan Law Commission, "Report on Jail Reform, 1997," p. 26.

90 The Khidmat Committees have attracted considerable controversy in Pakistan since their introduction. Opponents point out that there is no statutory basis for the committees, and that their ranks have been filled with PML supporters. See Farhan Bokhari, "Some in Pakistan Wary of `Service' Committees," Christian Science Monitor, May 4, 1998.

91 Javaid Iqbal, "Divisional Khidmat Committee pays surprise visit to jail," Nation (Lahore), December 27, 1998.

92 Human Rights Watch interview with Shahid Alam, Borstal Institute and Juvenile Jail, Bahawalpur, November 25, 1998.

93 Human Rights Watch interview with Zain-ul-Abideen, Inspector-General of Prisons, North-West Frontier Province, Peshawar, May 12, 1998.

94 AGHS Child Rights Cell, "Children in Prisons: Punjab Report," December 1997.

95 U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, Rule 49.

96 U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, s. 22(1).

97 Ibid., s. 22(2).

98 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 787.

99 See Prisons Act, Sec. 6, and Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 1063. Medical officers are appointed by the provincial Health Department, and must serve on a full-time basis in central prisons and district prisons designed to accommodate five hundred or more inmates. Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 974.

100 Human Rights Watch interview with Kasim Baloch, Deputy Superintendent, Central Prison, Rawalpindi, May 15, 1998.

101 Human Rights Watch interview with Zia Ullah, Superintendent, District Jail, Lahore, May 21, 1998.

102 Pakistan Law Commission, "Report on Jail Reform, 1997," p. 24.

103 U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, Rule 51.

104 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 788.

105 Human Rights Watch interview with Qaiser Nadeem, Central Prison, Rawalpindi, May 15, 1998.

106 Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, A Penal System Long Overdue for Change, p. 31.

107 U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, Rule 37.

108 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 472.

109 Ibid., Rules 473(I) and 473(iii).

110 Human Rights Watch interview with Qadir, Central Prison, Rawalpindi, May 15, 1998.

111 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 301.

112 Ibid., Rule 679.

113 Human Rights Watch interview with Zia Ullah, Superintendent, District Jail, Lahore, May 21, 1998.

114 Pakistan Law Commission, "Report on Jail Reform, 1997" p. 22.

115 Human Rights Watch interview with Kasim Baloch, Deputy Superintendent, Central Prison, Rawalpindi, May 15, 1998.

116 The Rules permit such arrangements, but fail to specify educational qualifications for the prisoners chosen to teach juveniles. "Should it be necessary at any time to employ a prisoner for the instruction of the juvenile prisoners, an elderly well-behaved casual prisoner shall be specially selected by the Superintendent himself for this purpose." Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 302.

117 Human Rights Watch interview with Fayaz Iqbal, Central Prison, Rawalpindi, May 15, 1998.

118 Ibid. The term "matriculate," as used in Pakistan, means to pass a standardized test at the conclusion of tenth grade that qualifies students for a college education.

119 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 298.

120 Zain-ul-Abideen readily acknowledged that while jail factories existed in all three of the central prisons, Haripur was in other respects an atypical facility. "Haripur was built by the British for European prisoners and political prisoners," he said. "It's a beautifuljail, if you can use that term." Human Rights Watch interview with Zain-ul-Abideen, Inspector-General of Prisons, North-West Frontier Province, Peshawar, May 12, 1998.

121 U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, Rule 48.

122 "Every juvenile should have the right...freely to decline religious education." Ibid.

123 Ibid., Rule 38.

124 Pakistan Law Commission, "Report on Jail Reform, 1997," p. 16.

125 Ibid., p. 16.

126 Ibid., p. 12.

127 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rules 583 and 584. "Bar fetters consist of iron rings locked around the ankles of prisoners; an iron bar is riveted to each of these iron shackles making an inverted "V". These two vertical bars are about 50cm long and are linked at mid-thigh by an iron ring which the prisoner must hold or which is connected to a rope or chain around the waist.... The iron bars are about 1.2 cm in diameter and weigh, together with the ankle shackles, around 4 kg." Report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture, para. 50.

128 U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, Rule 67.

129 U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, Rule 31.

130 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Anees Jillani, Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), Islamabad, May 20, 1999.

131 Javaid Iqbal, "Divisional Khidmat Committee pays surprise visit to jail," Nation (Karachi), December 27, 1998. Human Rights Watch researchers also observed children in the Bahawalpur Borstal wearing chain links, during a visit to the facility on May 18, 1998. See Chapter V of this report for a further discussion of this issue.

132 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 591. Rule 588 provides that the "total number of stripes shall never be less than fifteen."

133 "Except in cases where the punishment of whipping is provided for as hadd, the sentence of whipping provided under any law, rule, or regulation for the time being in force shall stand abolished." Abolition of Punishment of Whipping Act, 1996, Sec. 3.

134 Pakistan Law Commission, "Report on Jail Reform, 1997," pp. 31, 37.

135 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 584(1).

136 According to the Herald, a respected monthly newsmagazine published in Karachi, "[t]hrowing prisoners into the isolation ward is routine punishment in most Pakistani prisons, and is frequently meted out for the most trivial offenses." Hasan Iqbal Jafri, "In the Belly of the Beast," Herald, September 1996, p. 71.

137 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rules 583 and 584.

138 The distinction turns on the severity of the punishment that the superintendent chooses to award. The Rules state, "An offence will be considered a minor offence, when it is dealt with by a minor punishment, and a major offence when dealt with by a major punishment." Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 587.

139 Human Rights Watch interview with Zia Ullah, Superintendent, District Jail, Lahore, May 21, 1998.

140 U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, Rule 67.

141 Human Rights Watch interview with Noor Mohammad, Borstal Institute and Juvenile Jail, Bahawalpur, May 18, 1998.

142 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 580.

143 Pakistan Law Commission, "Report on Jail Reform, 1997," p. 20.

144 Ibid., p. 37.

145 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rules 456, 458, and 459.

146 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rule 460.

147 Human Rights Watch interview with Yusuf Ramzan, Central Prison, Rawalpindi, May 15, 1998.

148 U.N. Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty, Rule 85.

149 Prisons Act, 1894, s. 6.

150 Pakistan Prison Rules, Rules 1041, 1138, 1139, and 1147.

151 Ibid., Rule 1113. "Middle standard," in Pakistan's school system, consists of grades six to eight. See Samra Fayyazuddin, Anees Jillani, Zarina Jillani, The State of Pakistan's Children: 1997 (Islamabad: Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), 1998), p. 87.

152 Ibid., Rule 1182.

153 Ibid., Rule 83.

154 Ibid., Rule 85.

155 Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, "A Penal System Long Overdue for Change," p. 13.

156 Ibid., p. 15.

157 The facility in fact functioned as a borstal institution from 1932 until 1965, when the borstal was shifted to its present location in Bahawalpur.

158 Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, "A Penal System Long Overdue for Change," p. 14.

159 Human Rights Watch interview with Abdul Majeed Ahmed Auolakh, Principal, Central Jail Staff Training Institute, Lahore, May 16, 1998.

160 Human Rights Watch interview with Muhammad Masood Khan, Senior Lecturer, Central Jail Staff Training Institute, Lahore, May 16, 1998.

161 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Abdul Majeed Ahmed Auolakh, Principal, Central Jail Staff Training Institute, Lahore, May 13, 1999.

162 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Syed Alamdar Hussain Shah, Free Legal Aid Cell, Sahiwal, May 3, 1999.

163 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Anwar, correspondent for Dawn, Sahiwal, April 13, 1999.

164 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Syed Alamdar Hussain Shah, Free Legal Aid Cell, Sahiwal, May 3, 1999.

165 The charges were registered against the following juvenile prisoners: Mohammed Ameer, Mohammed Aslam, Ijaz Ahmad, Maqsood Ahmad, Munir Ahmad, Sadaqat, Qasim Ali, Mohammed Afzal, Sabir, and Riaz Shah. Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Anwar, correspondent for Dawn, Sahiwal, April 13, 1999. See also "Sahiwal: Trouble in juvenile section: 23 hurt in Sahiwal prison riots," Dawn, April 12, 1999.

166 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Syed Alamdar Hussain Shah, Free Legal Aid Cell, Sahiwal, May 3, 1999.

167 Jahangir and Doucet, Children of a Lesser God, p. 52.

168 Human Rights Watch interview with Abdul Majeed Ahmed Auolakh, Principal, Central Jail Staff Training Institute, Lahore, May 16, 1998.

169 Q.A. Bukhari, "Jhang: Drug trade, biradrism destroy Jhang jail peace," Dawn, October 10, 1998.

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