Voice for Voiceless
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Afzal Abad, Central Jail Road, Haripur, KPK, Pakistan														(C) Human Development Organization

*Nabila Bibi* 38, a native of district Charsada has poor economic background. Her husband was security guard at a private company and the salary he used to draw was insufficient to run kitchen and pay house rent. The poverty stricken couple, with four minor children, faced numerous problems addressing family needs.

One day a woman from neighboring locality came to Nabila and suggested the way out of economic crisis exhorting her to join drug peddlers’ racket.  “Initially it was not easy for me to consent for a job that I never thought of or had any experience- being scared of consequences I rejected her advice out rightly”, she says. But ever expanding family needs and meager income, forced her to discuss the proposal with her spouse who also reacted negatively to start with. “Poverty was my crime that has shattered my life-disintegrated the whole family-my children for whom I chose to become criminal are nowhere around me”

However enticed by offer of changing destiny, she had to grab the chance with both hands. Next day she was trained at handling the “baggage” and law enforcement agencies as well. Now a trained drug smuggler Bibi, made some successful trips to different cities of Punjab.  

However during her last tour to Lahore she was not so lucky to cheat the Punjab police again and was held at Attock check post possessing a few kilograms of hash.

Before registering FIR under section 9 CNSA, the police kept her incommunicado, foodless and sleepless for two days constantly. “Male investigators beat me with bamboo sticks striking on hands, foot soles, buttocks and the whole body-I was crying in pain-imploring to spare me from the merciless beating” Bibi discloses. The next day another pair of police personnel came to her cell and again tortured her slapping and pulling hair intermittently. “They also harassed me sexually touching my private parts- used abusive language for me and the whole family”.

However: “after keeping me detained unrecorded for two days the police produced me before the court of judicial magistrate who ordered sending me jail on judicial remand”.

Having no legal assistance, as the family had already deserted her, Bibi was convicted for life term (25 years) after trial of about a year or so. “If I had financial or even legal assistance at the trial stage I would have been a free person now-winning acquittal from the court”.

The only family members who once visited her in Attock jail was her brother hurling life threat after her release as he believes that Nabila’s offence has ruined their family honor.

“After undergoing cruel and degrading treatment at the police station when I was sent to Attock Jail I was suffering from high degree fever, body aches, bruises and kidney infection with multiple psychological problems.

She became patient of sleep and stomach disorder and hallucinations and developed suicidal ideation. To get rid of constant depression Bibi became chain smoker and started taking tranquilizers.


Nabila was shifted to Haripur Jail in April 2012 and was registered as torture victim with HDO’s Centre for Rehabilitation & Legal Assistance (CRLTV). Suffering from kidney problem, constant depression, sleep disorder, deviant behavior, high blood pressure, she was put on treatment by jail doctors. When she started recovering from medical problem, HDO’s counselors engaged her in psychological rehabilitation process applying different techniques. “After four counseling sessions with HDO’s psychologists I started feeling relived from my sufferings-my mental condition was improving and I quitted smoking and using anti depressants gradually”. She was a changed persons now; socializing with fellow inmates which was earlier missing from her daily routine.

“I would have committed suicide or become drug addict had HDO not supported me, now I have learnt real worth of life- and want to spend post detention life promoting cause of education and human rights”.


As part of psycho therapeutic services, she was enrolled with HDO’s Non Formal Basic Education School for prisoners and underwent several group sessions.

The short tempered Bibi is now a fully recovered and normal woman and has passed 9th grade’s exam and would become entitled for one year remission in her jail sentence this year.

Bibi is also one of the learners of HDO’s Computer Literacy Program for Women Prisoners, and have learnt to operate computer.  She is optimistic about her future showing commitment to starting her life as school teacher and advocating for the rights of inmates.