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LAHORE: With a focus on the proposal of conducting trials of prisoners through video links, Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Naqvi Friday chaired a meeting at his office, wherein discussions were held on prison reforms.

The chief minister instructed for a report to be prepared, based on the recommendations while the participants also agreed to allow prisoners to offer congregational Fajr and Maghrib prayers.

The meeting was informed that 71 prisoners will be released before Eid-ul-Fitr, thanks to the contributions of philanthropists and the Punjab government to pay for their diyat and fines. It was agreed in principle to provide a video call facility for prisoners, with a pilot project set to begin in Lahore jail within seven days.

The meeting was told about the establishment of model waiting and meeting areas in five model penitentiaries, as well as the offering of TEVTA courses in 10 other prisons. The installation of CCTV cameras in 28 prisons has been completed, with plans to install them in 15 more slammers.

A control room has also been set up in the IG office to monitor the facilities 24/7. It was noted that the implementation of video link trials would eliminate the need to transport prisoners to courts. Additionally, open-air gyms have been established in nine prisons, and medical equipment worth Rs 400 million will be purchased for prison hospitals.

Moreover, the CM presided over a meeting at his office to deliberate on the matters about the Government Central Model School (GCMS) in Lahore.

During the meeting, it was decided to grant the school the status of a centre of excellence. As part of this initiative, the school will admit only the best students and a three-member committee has been formed to develop the admission criteria.

The committee will be comprised of the chairman of the BISE Lahore, the commissioner of Lahore, and the secretary of the school education department. They will work together to devise an admission test procedure that will ensure that only the most qualified students are admitted to the GCMS.

Successful students will be given admission and a special package. The CM stated that experts would be approached to revamp the historic school building and devise a procedure for conducting O-Level and A-Level classes.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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