Special Assistant to Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Friday directed Ministry of Human Rights to prepare proposal for seeking presidential pardon on humanitarian grounds of highly deserving cases, as per law.
He directed this in a consultative meeting chaired by him in the Ministry of Law & Justice to consider possible legislative reforms in criminal justice system of Pakistan. The meeting was attended by senior representatives of Ministry of Interior, Human Rights, Foreign Affairs, Narcotics Control Division, and Law & Justice, said a press release here on Friday.
The SAPM stated that another proposal should be prepared for the prisoners involved in minor offences to engage them in community services for their social reintegration instead of keeping them in Jails. Keeping in view, Pakistan’s international commitments and concluding observations on Pakistan’s obligatory reports, Ministry of Human Rights was directed to conduct thorough review of laws pertaining to human rights including offences related to death penalty.
The concerns of international community regarding disabled prisoners who were on death row were also discussed. Ministry of Human Rights Secretary Ms Rabiya Javeri Agha proposed to review imposition of death penalty in drug crimes.
Besides, situation with regard to prisoners particularly women, children, mentally-ill and physically challenged persons was discussed with a view to protect their rights as guaranteed in the Constitution of Pakistan. It was agreed that the detail analysis of each category of the prisoners along with relevant crimes will be undertaken to comprehensively address the issue.
The meeting noted that in case of any report of death penalty imposed on such categories of prisoners, the matter would be dealt on humanitarian ground and presidential pardon under Article 45 of the Constitution would be recommended subject to certification of the cases by the provincial government.
Furthermore, the issue of persons who were juvenile at the time of offence before promulgation of Juvenile Justice Ordinance, 2000 and had been awarded death penalty under the then prevailing law was also discussed.
‘The Ministry of Human Rights was of the view that as per Presidential Order 2001, provides commutation of death penalties awarded to juveniles into life imprisonment, so if there exists any such juvenile who was awarded death penalty before 2000 should also get benefit from such relief’. Ministry of Human Rights was directed to review relevant laws of such offences and prepare proposals for further legislative review, if so required.