The release of prisoners from jails across Pakistan has been put on hold as the Supreme Court suspended the orders given by different high courts and district courts.
The courts allowed the release of under-trial prisoners to contain the spread of the coronavirus in Pakistan. An appeal was filed in the Supreme Court challenging their release.
Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed said that coronavirus is a serious problem but they can’t allow the release of prisoners involved in heinous crimes.
He remarked that the court will see under what circumstances the high courts took suo motu action in these cases as they aren’t allowed to do so.
The attorney-general said the courts had given different verdicts. The Supreme Court has formed a guideline and only that will be implemented, he added.
The court said that only prisoners involved in petty crimes can be released.
On March 24, the Islamabad High Court ordered the issuance of bail for 408 prisoners at the Adiala Jail facing trial in minor crimes as a precautionary measure against the novel coronavirus.
The decision was taken by Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah. “Our jails are overcrowded and social distancing cannot be implemented in them,” he said.