KARACHI: 15-year old boy Adnan, who originally belongs to a remote village of Multan district in southern Punjab, has been languishing in Youthful Offenders Industrial School (YOIS), in Karachi Central Jail since last six months.
The story of Adnan's ordeal was revealed when Universal Day Foundation for Research and Human Development (FRHD), in collaboration with prison department, Tere Des Home (TDH) and DevCon under global campaign, Destination Unknown (DU), which aims to protect children "on the move" organized sessions with juvenile criminals in Youthful Offenders Industrial School (YOIS), inside Central Jail Karachi.
It was part of a series of sessions with the aim of to exploring juvenile offenders' potential for success and bright future, trailing the causes of children on move to come into conflict with law
As per his version of the story, Adnan left his home for Karachi nine months ago in search of an earning, since his family was poor and was struggling for survival in his native town, which was once considered to be the hub of agriculture. Agriculture in the district was reduced considerably following the adverse affects of climate change, which has forced poor farmers to suffer from scarcity.
"I thought I will support my family as they are very poor, so I left my hometown and came to Karachi to earn something for them," he said.
The determined boy started working in a factory and on a fateful night, when he was returning home from his workplace, a police patrol officer caught him, alleging that he was the boy who had fired at police.
He is in the jail since then. The jail administration has moved him to YOIS inside the Karachi central jail.
"I am not allowed to call my parents and factory boss to inform them about the situation and seek their help. My days are passing in darkness without any reason. I have been forced to confess to the crime, which I cannot even imagine about doing," Nazra Jahan, who works on child rights, facilitates sessions inside the jail, visited Adnan last week, quoted him saying.
After brutal torture police had forced Adnan to confess to the crime he had not committed. Adnan was kept in custody for four days in Mauripur police station. Then he was shifted to Kalari Thana, where again, he was kept for six days. During these days of his captivity in police custody, he was badly tortured, harshly abused and treated brutally by the police, who implicated him in a crime, he was not even aware of.
Then, he was transferred to YOIS, inside Karachi Central Jail. He narrated further that he was taken by police before Judge on Sept 2. Since then he has not been produced before any court.
"Since then, neither my boss nor my parents have been informed about my presence in jail," he said.
During interactive sessions with the inmates of YOIS, it was found that 22 juvenile delinquents were involved in repeated crimes and 174 were first time offenders, who were involved in minor crimes.
Nazra Jahan said that hundreds of children in Pakistan are on the move. They have lost their home, shelter and are struggling under generational poverty culture, violence or disaster. They may end up exploited or abused as their destination is unknown.
According to Jehan, 196 juvenile offenders are languishing in prison, out of them 191 are under trial and five have been convicted. Seven juveniles came into prison against the violation of foreigners Act, 1946. Among them, one is convicted.
She said 14 juvenile offenders in YOIS were migrants from different cities of Pakistan, who have come to Karachi in search of employment to support their families and later they were picked by the police and sent to jail.
Around 50 juvenile offenders have admitted that they were working in hotels, doing loading work, working in factories, auto workshops, etc, she said.
She appealed to the government and human rights defenders to come forward to help and investigate and find out that why these children are languishing in jails without committing any crime. Why black sheep in the police are given free hand to violate the laws and are bringing a bad name to the government and have demanded the release of these innocent juveniles.