Mr. Abid Saqi, Vice Chairman, Pakistan Bar Council and Syed Qalb-i-Hassan, President, Supreme Court Bar Association are dismayed and so have expressed their concern on filing of a Petition in the Hon’ble Supreme Court,challenging thereby the Judgement of the Islamabad High Court for the release of 408 prisoners from Jail in the wake of COVID-19 risk, and its prompt fixation for hearing before a larger Bench of the Supreme Court on Monday, the 30th March, 2020.

They recalled that all the Bar Bodies and the legal fraternity have fully appreciated and supported the timely decision/Judgement of the Islamabad High Court regarding conditional release of 408 prisoners from Adiyala Jail, which has been taken/passed in peculiar circumstances arisen as a result of the outbreak of deadly COVID- 19, just on humanitarian and compassionate grounds only in cases of under trial prisoners,  and thus  expressed the hope that the other superior Courts may also take/pass similar decisions/orders on humanitarian grounds that being the demand of the grave situation confronting Pakistan. The rapid increase in spread of Corona virus the world over, which has also gravely attacked Pakistan as well, needs concerted efforts and practical contributions on war footing basis by all concerned, within sphere of their activities,  including our Courts, to combat the deadly disease. Needless to add that Pakistan is one of very few countries in the world, having large percentage of under trial prisoners which is one of the main causes of overcrowding of our Jails.

The elected Heads of both the apex Bar Bodies, therefore, have expressed their earnest hope that the Hon’ble Supreme Court while hearing and deciding the Petition will kindly keep in view the hardships of and COVID-19 threats to under trial prisoners in overcrowded Jails of the country, which are endangering even their lives, and its decision in the matter will promote the object of protection of human rights especially of the under trial prisoners.The verdict of the apex Court of the country surely will improvise the system of dispensation of justice pertaining to preservation of human rights, they expressed their optimism.

Muhammad Arshed

28th March 2020