Pakistan Supreme Court rejects the release of prisoners amidst COVID-19 outbreak

So as to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 in the overcrowded jails of Pakistan that has been finding it very difficult to tackle the pandemic, release of hundreds of prisoners was ordered by several high courts, including the Islamabad High Court, that has been rejected by the two-member bench of the Supreme Court on March 30.

Last week the High Courts in lieu of reducing the burden on jails ordered the release of over 500 under-trial prisoners and those already sentenced for their involvement in petty crimes. The Supreme Court rejecting the order passed by the High Court stated that the high courts did not take into account the views of the complainants while ordering the release of the prisoners. It also barred all the high courts, and the provincial governments from passing any such order.

Chief Justice of Supreme Court Gulzar Ahmed said, “Coronavirus is a serious issue but the decisions taken in haste and fear won’t work”.

Zafar Mirza, the health affairs adviser to Prime Minister Imran Khan said that about 27% of the total cases in the country were the result of local transmission of virus, while the remaining 73% patients have a history of traveling abroad, mainly to Iran.

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