KARACHI: The massive jail (prisons) reforms – Benazir Prison Reform Package – proposed by former president Asif Ali Zardari some eight years back, seems nowhere as the authorities concerned have so far not made even a little progress on it, Daily Times has learnt. Moreover, the financial managers in the Sindh government have also showed reluctance to release the desired funds for the jail reforms despite repeated attempts made by the prisons department so that the reforms at jails could be brought in, according to sources. In October 2008, the then president, Zardari, had directed the Sindh government to prepare a comprehensive plan for jail reforms in accordance with the reports of parliamentary committees and international human rights organisations. However, the former president’s orders were reportedly ignored by his own minister and by the authorities concerned. Besides, the president had also directed the officials to facilitate poor prisoners and provide training and education to jail officials with special attention be paid to improve the conditions in which women prisoners are being kept. He also said the prisoners should be provided with all basic facilities including the quality food. Later, Sindh’s Prisons Department chalked a plan – Benazir Prison Reform Package – with an allocation of huge funds in early 2009, aimed at providing clean drinking water to the prisoners by installing water coolers, mini-theaters, smaller hospitals, toilets, compound walls, bathrooms, CCTV cameras, walkthrough gates, modern security equipments and many more. Moreover, the Sindh government had also allocated Rs 1,400 million for the programme in the budget 2009-10 under the head of Benazir Prison Reform Package. And, more funds were released without any hindrance to the different non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in a move to ensure provision of free legal advocacy to the prisoners, surety money, payment of fine and free legal aid, said sources. Sources alleged that Finance Department was delaying the release of funds for the jail reforms as the Prisons Department had clearly refused to pay any percentage to the Finance Department’s officials for the release of funds. Yes, there are much funds available with the Sindh’s Finance Department for the jail reforms but the latter was arbitrarily “delaying the release of funds”, confirmed a high raking official of the Prison Department, requesting anonymity. Pertinent to mention here that Sindh Chief Minister a day before presided over a meeting regarding jail reforms in the light of Supreme Court instructions and the findings of Federal Ombudsman at the Chief Minister’s House. The chief minister had ordered the authorities concerned to devise a workable plan to turn the jails into the “correction houses”.