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An inmate in a Pakistan prison serving a life sentence for murder has won a scholarship for for his tertiary education after scoring the highest marks in higher secondary school exams which he sat last year.


Syed Naeem, 35, scored the highest marks in the general high school exams as a private candidate. Karachi is the largest city in Pakistani. He won a scholarship to further his education at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Pakistan.


“What I have achieved while languishing in jail is not possible if one does not have conviction,” the student told media during an interview in Karachi.


Syed Naeem is in prison at Central Prison Karachi was built by the British in 1899 located in the port city in south-eastern Pakistan.


Many prisons in Pakistan are known for being overcrowded. There are prisons which accommodate up to 6,000 when they have a capacity of 2400 prisoners. In general prisons in Pakistan have a 130% of their capacity and are known to be poorly ventilated, they do not have enough beds, prisons do not always have access to medicine, bathrooms and no safe water. This is according to Amnesty International.


During the interview Syed indicated that as a child he enjoyed studying but his family would not afford his education. Older inmates who were not studying motivated and encouraged him factors which led to his good performance.


There are 1,200 inmates pursuing education on Karachi’s Central Prison. However, his performance is unmatched according to Saeed Soomro the deputy superintendent of the prison.


“His results are (also) tantamount to our success,” Soomro said, in giving him the opportunity to study and providing him with books and materials.

Syed was sentenced to life in prison, that is 25 years in Pakistan, in 2018 for killing of a man following disagreement in 2010. Syed was awarded some years off to pursue his education, he has been engaging in good behaviour such as blood donation hence he remains with six years to serve as a prisoner.


Syed will now be required to sit and pass an entrance examination in order to take up the scholarship of $5,700 equivalent to 1 million rupees. The scholarship is issed to the top 4 students in the intermediate exams. It does not matter whether they are inside or outside prison.


“I feel it will be very difficult for me to pursue this scholarship from prison,” Shah said, considering the specialized academic units that he will be undertaking.


“I appeal to the president of Pakistan, prime minister and chief executive of Sindh province to consider my case for remission.”


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