A 35-year-old man serving a life sentence for murder in the central jail of this southern Pakistani city has been allowed to meet his mother after five years as a reward for being among the toppers in the intermediate exams for private students.
Syed Naseem Shah’s wish came true last Monday when his mother, who had refused to see him for the last five years, visited the Central Jail in Karachi and met him.
Shah was granted special permission by the jail authorities after he scored the highest among private candidates – that is, among non-traditional students – in the intermediate examinations last year in Karachi. He won a scholarship worth Pakistani Rs 1 lakh for further studies from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan.
“We gave him special permission for a one-on-one meeting with his mother because of his academic achievements,” said Saeed Soomro, the Deputy Superintendent of Jail.
He said Shah had requested that he wanted to meet with his mother and sister.
“It was an emotional moment as they cried and hugged each other and he also fell down on her feet asking for forgiveness from his mother,” Soomro said.
Shah surprised everyone by topping the intermediate examinations while appearing from jail as a private student.
“My older inmates who are fond of studying and reading books encouraged me to appear for the exams and helped me prepare as well,” Shah responded to an email sent by PTI to the jail authorities.
Shah was sentenced to life – 25-year prison term – in 2018 for the shooting and killing of a man in a personal disagreement in 2010. He has been in jail as a prisoner since his trial which started in 2011.
According to Soomro, Shah could be released in six years time for his academic achievements, good behaviour and blood donations plus time spent on trial as a prisoner.
According to a report released late last year by the government, there are around 87,000 inmates in 116 jails in Pakistan whose official capacity is for 65,168 prisoners.
These include 1,400 women prisoners and another 1,430 juveniles.
Shah will have to take an entrance test to qualify for the CA scholarship but he said he was confident he could manage it.
“The one good thing about living in jail is that if you have inmates and jail officials who are encouraging you it is not difficult to concentrate on your studies. But I would love to be released and give my examination while living with my mother,” Shah replied.
An official of the Institute of Chartered Accountants said they offer scholarships to four students earning top four scores in intermediate examinations regardless of where they give their examinations.
An appeal by Shah is pending in the Sindh High Court and recently he also appealed to President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan for a remission.