Pakistan Supreme Court Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered the arrest of all the undertrial prisoners who were released last month on the orders of lower courts as part of precautionary measures to combat the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19.

The apex court overturned the judgement of the lower courts and declared the verdict on their release to be null and void. The decision was announced by a five-member larger bench under Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed.

The bail granted to people involved in corruption and drugs cases should be cancelled, the court said.

The verdict, however, says that the prisoners who are sick or have any disability can be released if they were sentenced to jail for three years or less.

Prisoners who have completed their sentences but failed to pay the fine can also be released. Also, women and children who have completed 75 per cent of their sentence can be released. However, prisoners accused of violence against women and children won’t be released, the court ruled, according to Samma TV.

Chief Justice

On March 30, the Supreme Court put on hold the release of prisoners after it suspended the orders given by different courts across the country. The courts allowed the release to ensure the safety of prisoners and stop the spread of coronavirus in Pakistani jails.

The Islamabad High Court’s decision on the release of prisoners was not according to the law, said the top judge, adding that the Sindh High Court passed a similar order.

A five-member bench had been hearing the case challenging the release of undertrial prisoners.

The court had also directed that better facilities to be set up at Taftan border to screen patients and to keep them in isolation. “Proper quarantine centres and isolation wards should be set up at Taftan, Torkhan and Chaman borders. A quarantine centre should be set-up within the next two-weeks. Each person should have a separate room, bathroom and good food,” Justice Gulzar said.