The Sindh government has announced that it would issue a special remission, on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr, to 1,200 prisoners incarcerated all over the province. The remission will exclude those convicted of major crimes.
The inspector general of prisons recommended the issuance of this special remission. It does not include prisoners convicted of crimes relating to murder, espionage, anti-state and terrorist activities, kidnapping and dacoity. It also excludes those being tried under the Foreigners Act of 1946.
The number of prisoners who will be issued the remission includes 371 from Central Prison Karachi, 264 from Hyderabad, 233 from Sukkur, 101 from Larkana, 63 from Khairpur, 47 from Mirpurkhas, eight from women’s prison in Karachi, 88 from District Prison Malir, 13 from Special Prison Nara and Hyderabad, four from the Special Prison for Women Sukkur, two from Shaheed Benazirabad and one each from Dadu, Ghotki, Larkana, Youth Industrial School Karachi, Youth Industrial School Sukkur.
Earlier this year, a petition filed by Kashif Masih submitted to the Lahore High Court (LHC) asked for the extension of education based remissions to religious minorities as well.
Rule 215 of the Prisons Rules 1978 grants prisoners remission in their prison sentences through education, but this applies only to Muslim prisoners. It also allows reduced sentences for those Muslims who complete the Holy Quran.
Masih argued that by not extending this policy to religious minorities, their fundamental Constitutional rights were being violated.
He argued, “According to relevant rules, religious minority prisoners are entitled to education remission on the completion of formal education and especially on memorization or completion of their sacred book such as the Vedas, Geeta, Upanishads, Pali Canon, Holy Bible, Granth Sahib, Torah and Zabur.”