ISJ welcomes SC of Pakistan’s polio intervention for children with women prisoners

The Institute for Social Justice (ISJ) is pleased to learn that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered investigation of a polio case in Women Prison in Karachi, in Sindh province of Pakistan. Sawera, 4, became victim of polio virus- an incurable disease- while living with her mother (Naseeba Khatoon) who was serving a sentence for a murder in the prison. Sawera has lost the ability to walk. There are reported to be more than 250 babies and children living with their mothers in different prisons of Pakistan. The Supreme Court has ordered an inquiry into the case and instructed all the country’s provinces to disclose whether polio drops and other kinds of immunization were being administered in their prisons. The Supreme Court has given one month to conduct a survey to determine whether any children or suckling babies in prison with their mothers have been left out of immunization campaigns. Currently Pakistan is a leading country in the world that has the highest polio cases in the year. By November 2014, about 250 cases of polio virus have been reported. The ISJ requested the SC of Pakistan for taking extra special measures for children of incarcerated parents including children living with their mothers in prisons. A large number of children are deprived from parental care and protection and social and economic support in Pakistan whose both parents in prisons but their children are living with other relatives. But in majority of cases, when fathers are in prisons, these children live with mothers and do not get any support to continue their education and enjoy other rights. There are no legal, administrative and policy measures for the rights of children of incarcerated parents in Pakistan.