PAKISTAN: DEATH-ROW PRISONER AZIZ BUGTI BECOMES SKILLED ARTIST IN JAIL
September 19, 2023:
Aziz Bugti is serving a 210-year imprisonment and has been sentenced to death four times. (Sources: Mmnews, 18/09/2023; Dawn 22/04/2015)
Bugti hails from the area of Dera Bugti in Balochistan and is serving a sentence for planning and planting explosives and was arrested during the era of former president Pervez Musharraf.
He has already spent 18 years in Central Prison Karachi.
However, this has not deterred him from being a painter.
“I was a vengeful person, I had a lot of hate inside me for people and I did not even consider myself Pakistani for some time, but now I feel part of the system more than ever”, Bugti said.
Speaking to MM News, Bugti said he could not read, write or paint when he arrived at the Central Jail. However, he took art lessons to educate himself.
He learned painting and became an artist who has also participated in different exhibitions. He also took part in a contest by the State Bank in which over 200 artists from across Pakistan participated.
“I did not know how to read or write. Neither did I know how to paint or what colours are. When I got here, I took interest and worked hard,” he said.
Bugti said they are now preparing for Sindh Cultural Day in which they decorate their sections in jail. Bugti said he is not alone and has a team of other inmates working with him. Bugti said he has built a sculpture of his student, who is also a death-row prisoner.
ASP Central Jail Misbah said many prisoners studying fine arts have learned the craft and are teaching others.
His concept of the Sindh Wall was to give inmates an opportunity to showcase the culture of the province by painting ajrak and rilli motifs on the walls.
He said such projects show that prisoners can also work on such arts and crafts.
He said the concept of jail was a place where crime increases but it has reformed into a corrections facility.
He said the department has renamed Sindh Prisons and Corrections Facility and now attempts to rehabilitate prisoners. This includes providing fine arts, bead-making, English classes and even anger management. He said this helps to rehabilitate prisoners and make them productive members of society.
Prisoner Aziz Bugti serves as a reminder to hate crime but love life. It shows that prisoners are not violent criminals but members of the society.